Tag Archive: THE DOOR



     As usual I started experimenting with a basic quick sketch of what I had in mind. I knew right from the start that I wanted to incorporate the title into the image for this one, especially since it was our more traditional two word titles. Naturally I aimed for an actual door, knowing it would be fairly easy to incorporate the word “door” into the wood grain.

       From there I started testing out different color schemes for the wood grain itself. But then I started asking myself, how would a door that had been exposed to the elements for almost two centuries look? So I did some Googling, to find images to get a better idea of what such a door might look like. Here’s a few of the examples I found:

       So now I had a basis to build upon. Yet I also felt that whatever I created should have good strong colors that still gave that weathered yet somewhat foreboding feel. So I pulled out my soft pastels and started laying down some colors in order to start forming the palette I would use in the actual piece.  Of course I also incorporated lettering into the grain of the wood in order to help me build towards the full effect I was aiming for.

      Dark, sinister, ancient-looking yet eye-catching. Satisfied that this was what I want to aim for in the final rendition, I set about putting down the first layers for the actual cover.

       As things have progressed I added some stonework as well as ivy/vegetation to help add contrast as well as frame our sinister portal.  I also experimented with some photo-shopped lettering to get an idea of what the final product might look like on the actual book.

       And since the actual door was intended to open into a family crypt built into a hillside, I decided to get clever and incorporate the letters T. H. E. along with a date to represent the first of the Elliott family who passed through the door (still alive at the time) but never came out. In fact, his body was never found by those who came to investigate… mwahahahah.

       Um… sorry about that. I’m supposed to be talking about book covers not promoting the story.

       Anyway, using the initials this way I managed to get the words “The Door” clearly incorporated into the artwork, with room for our names. Though I may have to extend the bottom a bit more to keep within the restrictions about lettering getting too close to the edges.

       Clearly the above image is not nearly finished. The door itself still needs to be more weathered, and the vegetation needs to be made to look more sinister and eerie. Plus the door itself could use a hand and a lock, don’t you think? But you get the general idea from this and where it’s headed.

        So to clarify, if you set out to try and design your own book cover be prepared.  You’ll need to know the image requirements of whatever self-publishing company you’re using. Test the image out on prospective readers, get feedback. You may also need to do some or as much research as you did for your manuscript for accurate details to incorporate into the cover. And of course, make it eye-catching, intriguing, and alluring. Remember your cover is part of that first introduction to the reader. give them something that makes them want to pick up your book and start leafing through it. Because you may have one of the best stories in town, but if the package doesn’t promise what your story can deliver, it won’t even get a second glance.

       Until next time, take care and keep writing.


With 2018 drawing to a close, I’m sure a lot of us are reflecting on what’s happened in each of our lives as well as wondering about what 2019 holds. For me 2018 was a strange year of revelations, new opportunities, as well as upheavals. Two bouts with bronchitis, the second one becoming pneumonia, really took a lot out of me and my vacation time from work. I was supposed to be off this last week and not returning until January 2nd.

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Our 1st anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” had been slated to be released in late September/early October but didn’t see the light of day until early this month (not a great time to push a new book, not when the big publishers are pushing a bunch of titles they’ve been holding back in time for the holidays). However, things will pick up. I know this from past experience, so I’m not too worried.

However, the big question of course is what can you all expect from us in the coming year? Well, quite a lot. Firstly, we’ve been gathering our thoughts on a number of writing topics to share here on the blog. We’ve got plenty of insights from our adventures to share with you all, so we hope you’ll still be checking in regularly and re-sharing our posts with others.

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Secondly, there are things that have been happening behind the scenes we haven’t shared with you yet such as what’s been happening with the collaborations. As you know, my high school friend Rich Caminit and I have been working by e-mail and Skype on a project involving Chinese vampires and actual historical events. I am happy to announce that the first draft of our collaboration “The Pass” is nearing completion as I write this post. Part of the reason the project has taken so long is the fact that the story was becoming more and more lengthy and farther removed from the Para-Earths vision Helen and I created. So, we decided to make “The Pass” the first in a new paranormal/historical set of books we are considering calling “The Paranormal History Series” (tell us what you think in the comment section below please). Furthermore, we decided to break the story up into two books because it was getting so long. We’d already found the perfect cliffhanger for the end of the “The Pass”, as well as a startling beginning for the second part of the story which will culminate in a battle scene of epic proportions.

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Thirdly, Helen and I have embarked on yet another new series that she is taking the lead writing role on, called “The Forever Detective Series”. The first book is “Forever’s Too Long”. Set in the late 1940s, the detective, a former policeman and officer has opened his business as a private investigator to find out that the cases he’s working on are leading somewhere there is no coming back from. She’s already written over 19,000 words of the first book and we have already started building a website for it over at https://foreverdetective.com/. Mind you the site is still under construction, but if you click on the “Blog” tab you’ll find some interesting background information about her leading man. And there will be a lot more coming soon to that site, so you might want to bookmark it. Her current goal is to have the book out by summer so stay tuned. She’s a lot faster writer than I am so the likelihood of it being out on time is very good.

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Finally, I want to let you all know that the long-awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship” is once more fully under way. “The Door” takes up where both those books ended in a hospital where the wail of an infant leads Alex Hill, Veronica Ross, Cassandra Elliott, and Julianna Cloudfoot to face old and new threats from the realms of two different Para-Earths. Part of the reason this book has taken so long to write was the simple fact that I had a good idea of what I wanted the main story to be, but not a clear vision of how it should unfold. This is what led to our branching off and doing “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” tale, which was more clear and complete in my mind.

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That book also allowed me to find the missing pathways I needed to get “The Door” back on track with new characters and scenes that will “bridge the gap” (please excuse the pun) between the first two books and “The Vampyre Blogs” part of our Para-Earth Series. The story that will be unfolding in “The Door” will start the beginning of bringing the casts between all three books together creating opportunities for many more stories down the road, including one that will bring Alex face-to-face with the nightmare dwelling that nearly destroyed him in every sense of the word. I am of course referring to “Harlequin House”.

As you can see, there’s a lot coming your way in 2019 and beyond. We hope you’ll keep joining us for the ride ahead. It will probably have more twists and turns than a roller-coaster, and I hope will be just as exciting.

New Year 2019

Until time, we wish you all a very Happy New Year, and urge you all to keep writing!

 


Thank you cardFirst I’d like to thank all the guest bloggers, authors, and reviewers who were so kind to supply our blog with posts. It gave me some much needed time to get some rest and help family members who had suffered a terrible loss. It also allowed us to get back to work on our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” which will be coming out in early October, a perfect time for creepy stories and tales of encounters with strange beings. With only two stories left to be completed and edited, we will soon be lining up Beta-Readers and then doing our final edits.

Work has also been progressing on “The Door” latest full-length novel in the Para-Earth Series, and “The Pass” the first installment in a brand new series co-written with Richard Caminiti.

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In the meantime, I have been studying and purchasing the necessary equipment to begin audio-readings. As you can see below I’ve been slowly setting up a “Recording Studio” in our office/guest room.

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Now some of you may be asking “Why are you doing this? Don’t you have enough writing to do?” Well the answer is simply, a growing number of people have been telling us that they’d love to get our books but they prefer “Audiobooks” because they don’t always have time to sit and read. Or they lose track of the book they’re reading, etc-etc. This I can believe because I know a number of our co-workers are driving from over the hill from San Jose or Monterey, you name it. Plus, there are a number of folks who always have earbuds on and are not always listening to music.

“Why do it yourselves? Why not hire someone to do the reading and converting them into audiobooks?”

Once more I refer back to a number of folks who’ve actually heard me doing public speaking and reading aloud who insist I should be the one to do the audio-readings. And there are a number of readers who would prefer to hear the words spoken by the one who actually wrote them. This is a preference I share, I love hearing the author bringing their work to life because who understands the story better than they do?

As for how soon will any of our books be ready for audio? I’ll simply say that we’re just experimenting with audio-readings at this point. I’m going to try my hand at some classic short stories by others like HP Lovecraft and share them here and on YouTube to get feedback and maybe some tips from those who are more experienced in doing audiobooks. Furthermore, I want to know what it’s like doing audio recordings, who knows it may lead to a new character or even a storyline. After all they say write what you know, and drawing from life is always a much more satisfying for me when I’m creating a story.

Now if any of you are interested in hearing what happens on this little journey, I am planning on sharing in detail what I experience and learn as this adventure continues. I’ll be starting with the equipment and why some of it was chosen in an upcoming entry. And as I said before, I’ll be sharing some of the actual audio recordings for you all to get a taste of what the results are like.

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Again some of my first attempts will be short pieces by other authors some which are in the Public Domain. I’m choosing those first because there is a volunteer project called LibriVox which is similar to Project Gutenberg which takes books/stories in Public Domain and are making them available for free here on the internet. However, it’s much easier to reproduce typed words than it is to get audio versions and LibriVox depends on volunteer readers to record and submit works for public enjoyment, especially for those who are blind for instance.

So, that’s all I have to report for now. In the meantime we’ll finish getting the anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” ready for release, as well as getting other writing projects closer to finished first drafts.

Until next time, keep writing!

Life Gets Complicated Sometimes…


****HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL****

Last year ended on a few rough notes for us, namely all our holiday plans for visiting family and friends were rudely interrupted by two very nasty cases of Flu and Bronchitis.  We are happy to report that the two of us are finally on the mend.  However, life has been throwing us some other curve balls in the meantime, such as we are looking for a new place to live since our current location requires a commute to work that can last from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours one way, which means we spend a good 2-3 hours a day in the car going to and from our jobs.  This is of course leaves us very little time for writing, editing, correcting or even braining story ideas.  

 

Between the commute from Hell and being sick, we’ve had little or no time to work on anything lately.  Thus the release of the anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” has to be pushed back at this time.  We’re not sure when it will be released, other than the fact that it WILL come out sometime this year, the question is simply WHEN? 

 

Currently we have been looking at new apartments much closer to work which would leave us more time and more importantly ENERGY to write and work on the backlog of stories we have planned.  There are at least 4-5 books already under way, some are much more advanced than others.  In one case we have a complete “Untitled” 1st draft of a two book saga focusing on Brandon Elliott (the ghostly figure who watches over Cassandra in “The Bridge” and “The Ship”).  However, his story cannot be told until “The Door” has been finished and released (hopefully later this year).  The reason for the delay is the fact that certain events must unfold in the present day, before Brandon’s story, along with certain family secrets that take place back in early 1800’s, can be fully revealed.

 

*Note: This is not the final version of the cover

The eagerly awaited second installment in “The Vampyre Blogs” side of the Para-Earths Series is also currently under way.  Those who read the first book, already got a glimpse into where the second book will begin and we have also given readers a glimpse to the approaching danger that threatens not on Nathan and those he loves, but the entire town of Pointer.  (Click on these links to read that short story: 

 
 

Also under way, is “The Pass” my first collaboration with my old high school friend Rich Caminiti.

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This has been the most challenging pieces we’ve worked on, since all of the book has been worked on by long-distance, file-sharing, and Skype sessions.  This is one of the first full-length Para-Earth entries to be set in the past where we meet people and ‘others’ from this reality taking on a threat form a Para-Earth that could not only change the course of the Civil War, but the survival off all life on this Earth.  Oriental mysticism, American history, and Native American folklore come together in this epic tale that will keep the readers on the edge of their seats.  

 

Finally, Helen and I have also started bringing characters from “The Ship” and “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” together in the upcoming “Misty Mountains”, which brings the readers back to the shores of Santa Cruz (where the events of “The Ship” took place).  Julie Cloudfoot’s younger brother Johnny and his new girlfriend the mysterious Michelle, are house-sitting Cassandra’s beach residence when they meet a strange fellow named “The Professor” (aka Professor Otto Hofstadter from “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”) near the tide-pools at Natural Bridges.  Their meeting becomes the backdrop of a new Para-Earth threat that has entered this world.  A threat that will place all three into terrible dangers from not only the intruding life-forms, but illegal drug wars.

 

So as you can see we have a lot in store for you all coming up.  But first we need to get re-settled and free up our time and energies.  We ask for your patience and understanding in the meantime and will be keeping you all updated on what’s happening and how we’re doing here on our official website.   

 

You can also subscribe to this website by using the sign-up link, located at the bottom of the Home Page, and receive notifications of all new updates.  We will be posting several times a month sharing information about our thoughts on the writing process, book reviews, and  of course updates on our own works in progress.

 

Thank you all for your continued support, and may the new year bring you all much joy and pleasure in all aspects of your lives.   


         Hello everyone… when last I left you, I had promised to discuss some of the writing projects currently under way in the Para-Earth Series, and that is exactly what I intend to cover in this entry.

          Currently there not one, not two but over seven books under construction so to speak.

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          Each is at a different stage of development as far as length, but all are still only 1st drafts.  So there’s still a lot more to do on them, but progress is being made.

I’ll start with the book that will be released this coming November/December.  This one focuses mainly on my vampyre Nathan and his friends.  Before I released the first full-length novel starring Nathan last year, he and his friends had been the focus of a blog I started back in 2014 appropriately called “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” (You can click this link to see the latest story: http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/).

The purpose of the blog was to introduce readers to Nathan and company in a series of blog, e-diary, and e-journal entries and raise interest for the novel.  After three years there are now over 50 different stories of varying lengths that have appeared on the blog.  However, this also means that there are a lot of pages for a newcomer to try and scroll through to find the earliest tales or even the beginning of the more lengthy tales which can stretch from one to six separate entries.

          This has been a common lament that has reached our ears.  So just in time for the holidays, Helen and I have been gathering some of the earlier entries and are putting them into the first of what we hope will be a number of anthologies.  Mind you, this anthology will NOT just contain old stories.  Brand new tales are being added that have never appeared on the blog before, giving the readers something more to enjoy besides the convenience of accessing the earliest tales.  Some will be written solely by me or Helen, while others will be a joint venture, so you’ll be getting a taste of both our combined and individual styles.  Furthermore, as in the novel, the entries will be written from the points of views of various characters who appeared in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”

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Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDO8SLO/ref=series_rw_dp_sw 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vampyre-blogs-allan-krummenacker/1124855249?ean=2940153799605)

And as I mentioned earlier, we are planning more anthologies involving other never-before-seen tales of Para-Earth encounters starring characters from “The Bridge” and “The Ship” as well as brand new characters who may become part of our growing cast.  The first of that anthology will hopefully be coming in 2018, we’ll keep you posted on that front.

In the meantime, what other projects do we have that are currently in the works?

Well, the long awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, currently titled “The Door”…

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 …stars Alex Hill, Veronica Ross, Cassandra Elliott and Julianna Cloudfoot is currently weighing in at 60,000 words.  This one has been a long project for me because I’ve been expanding the cast and finding the weight cumbersome at times.  As in previous novels, I’ve tried to keep a mystery going, while also playing fair and giving hints to the audience as to what’s really going on.  Furthermore, this book will address certain unanswered questions from the first two books about the mysterious white-haired man who has plans for Cassandra.  As well as provide more insight into Rachel’s baby.  It will also open the eyes of certain characters into past experiences they’ve had and even begin the first major crossover between this part of the series and the Vampyre Blogs characters.

I’m hoping to have the first draft completed and the second under way by the end of this year.  From there my goal is to release it mid or late 2018.  I will make sure the release date will not interfere or overlap with the Para-Earth anthology mentioned earlier.  I like to give each installment its moment in the spotlight, as well as release books more frequently than I have in the past.

Of course, working with two other authors is also allowing the series to build up a reserve of books to make future releases more regular and frequent (a goal I’ve been hoping to see come true for a long time).

The next novel(s) to be released after that will hopefully be “The Pass” and “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”.  Both books are currently under way, with “The Pass” being the more advanced of the two.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, “The Pass” takes place during the Civil War.  Espionage, intrigue, paranormal, and Para-Earth all come together in this epic tale that draws upon actual historical events to make the tale even more exciting.  My partner Rich has been dutifully scouring history books and maps to make sure timelines, maps, modes of travel and how long the journey from the east coast to the west (before the Trans-Continental railroad was available) are completely accurate.

While most of the characters are original, certain historical figures will be appearing in the book as well as a ‘cameo’ by our favorite vampyre (whose origins are also directly connected with the Civil War).

But wait there are still more projects in the works, which I will cover in my next entry.   Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.

Updates From The Author…


First I’d like to thank everyone who took advantage of my “Hobbit Birthday” party.  Over 30 copies of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” were snatched up.  While I would’ve loved to have seen triple digits, I’m not going to complain.  The book got into more readers hands and that is always a good thing in my opinion.  Hopefully, this will lead to some more reviews.  Sadly, Nathan and company have been stuck in the single digits as far as reviews go on Amazon, with absolutely none on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

So I’m going to offer everyone who is interested the opportunity to get a free copy of the book (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, PDF, even paperback) in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Reviews are important to bringing a book to a wider audience.  We all know that whenever we think about purchasing a book or almost anything these days, we check online to see what kind of rating the item has.

Naturally, I’d love to see a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, but I leave that up to the reviewers.  I ask for honest and I mean it.  If you found the book wasn’t to your taste and you don’t wish to leave a review, just let me know so I’m not left in limbo wondering what happened.   The only thing I ask is that the reading and the review be done within 2 months of you getting the book.  If by chance you volunteer and life gets in the way, again just let me know.  Life happens to all of us including yours truly, so no worries.  Just stay in touch is all I ask.

So if anyone wishes to be a reviewer, please e-mail me at:

allan.krummenacker@gmail.com

Please include your name, e-mail address, and what book format you want and I’ll be in touch with you shortly.

 On another note…

I’m happy to announce that there will be an anthology involving my vampyre and friends, which will be released this December.  This volume will contain ‘select’ short stories from my other blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” (link: https://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/).  The reason for this is that I’ve been told by a number of people that they find it hard scrolling through a bunch of old blog entries to find the short stories, even though they really want to read them.  And since that blog is over two and a half years old, I know there’s a lot of stuff to wade through.

However, the anthology will not just contain stories from here, we are including 4-5 brand new stories just for the collection, which will NOT be reproduced here.  They will only be found within the pages of the anthology itself.  The total number of tales to appear in this first anthology has yet to be decided so stay tuned for more details.

In other news:

Book 2 of the Vampyre Blogs is now officially under way.

At this time “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” release date should be early October 2018 (which is why I’m releasing the anthology in the meantime, so as not to leave you all high and dry without anything new).  The story will take place two weeks after the conclusion of the first novel and will open with Nathan’s return, along with new trouble brewing.

The presence of Isabella will raise new questions and concerns for all who dwell under his roof, while an unscrupulous developer tries to influence the upcoming town council elections so he can get his hands on 1000+ acres of land Nathan’s home stands on.  Then there’s Marisa’s father. Are the cancer treatments he’s receiving really helping or will Nathan have to undergo a procedure that could leave him more vulnerable than ever to an attack from an old foe he believed had been vanquished?

Finally, “The Door” which has been plagued by numerous starts and stops has been growing and is coming along very nicely.  This book continues the saga of Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra and will wrap up several lingering story fragments including who the mysterious white-haired man is that has been stalking Cassandra for the last year.  It will also reveal why the ghostly Brandon has watched over the heiress all these years, as well as introduce some new characters who will play a pivotal role in the entire Para-Earth Series in the future.

So as you can see there’s a lot going on in the writing department for me and I hope the results will please and intrigue you all.

Until next time, stay tuned to this blog and keep writing.


In spite of all the excitement of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” being released this October, I keep hearing people ask “Whatever happened to “The Door”?  Are you going to finish that storyline with Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra?”  Of course I’m pleased to tell you all the answer is a resounding YES!  I am working on it as we speak in fact.  In fact I’ve been working on it for quite a while… a really long while… like over two years…. (groan)
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“What happened?” I hear you ask.  Well it’s quite simple.  I’ve spent the last 24 months with a serious case of too many ideas.  What does that look like you ask?  Here, let me show you.
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I keep getting new scenes going that help move the story along but after a while these new ideas wind up derailing the main plot of the story and I have to pull them out again.  And when that happens I end up hitting the infamous “Writer’s Block” and find myself unable to move the story forward.  This has happened a number of times.  Of course, some people will suggest that you have an outline to follow and stick to it.  This is a great idea, but unfortunately in my case, a number of my characters wind up with ideas of their own that are often way better than what I had planned in my outline and things end up going in a completely different direction.  And quite often those new directions are way better than what I had originally had in mind.  So I mainly work with a ‘loose’ outline.  There are some scenes and ideas that I have nailed down for sure, and then areas where I’m still finding a direction to head in.
However, in the case of “The Door” I had a number of scenes that were so solid there was nothing that could make me budge from using them…  and I wound up hitting wall after wall.  I’d go as far as to introduce new characters such as my vampyre Nathan, who makes his debut in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, at one point.  By adding him I created a bunch of new scenes that really helped the plot along, but also wound up sending the word count skyrocketing.  How did this happen?  By adding Nathan I had to introduce him to the audience, then the other characters, blah-blah-blah… too many words.  But by keeping certain scenes he inspired and giving those scenes to existing characters, I moved the story along much quicker and made those characters more interesting.
Furthermore, when I write a story keeps evolving.  I have a good idea where it begins and ends, but the in between stuff gets fuzzy sometimes.  As I mentioned earlier, my characters sometimes go off in better directions than what I had planned which leads to other problems.  Remember how I mentioned I had certain scenes planned for the story that I was going to use no matter what?  Well, some of those became stumbling blocks and it took me the longest time to come to terms with the fact that they no longer fit the story as it was developing and I had to edit them out…
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For me this was hard, because I really fell in love with those planned scenes.  However, as I’ve told many other writers, those scenes will not go to waste.  Instead, I saved them in another file folder on my computer where they will one day see the light of day in another book, where they will fit in just perfectly.
So what shape is “The Door” in now?  Much trimmer and faster-paced than in its previous incarnations.  The story is tense, exciting, full of mystery, with a growing sense of menace that I hope will keep you all on the edge of your seats to the very end.  Certain friends you’ve met before are starting to have an air of menace about them, and will make you wonder if they can still be trusted.  While newer characters will keep you guessing about their allegiances until the very end.
At this point the story is sitting at 50,000 words, and will probably wind up at about 110,000 or less by the time I’m finished.  Many unanswered questions from the first two books “The Bridge” and “The Ship” will be answered.  Furthermore, the fallout from the battle scene with the police at the end of “The Bridge” will be playing a key part in this novel.  I hope to have a completed first draft before the end of the year.
Finally, I’m also working on two collaborations as well.  One is with my wife Helen who co-authored “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  The other is “The Pass” with one of my best friends from high school Richard Caminiti.   He and I hope to have a completed first draft by the end of this year or early next year.
I’m also hoping to have each of them do some blog entries here so you can find out their thoughts on writing and having to put up with me.
Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.

As you all know, for the past couple of months, I was pulled away from my writing by all the demands of my classes at the California State University of Monterey Bay.  But now all of that is over, until next semester begins late next month/early February when it all starts up again… possibly, things may change before then.  I’m up for a couple of job interviews which could change everything.

In any case, you’d think I would be eager to jump back into my writing right?  Yes and no.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still in love with writing, but trying to awaken my muse has been hard.  Being away from my writing for so long left me drained emotionally and mentally on the creative front.  Plus there’s been other things I had to deal with which also got pushed aside thanks to all the schoolwork.

Luckily a lot of that is done and I have more time to get back to writing, only I found I was stuck staring at “The Door” and not being able to do anything with it.

(NOTE: This is NOT the final design for the bookcover…  I’m still working on it)

Now before anyone mentions plotting, let me explain that I’ve always known where the final confrontation was going to take place and who’d be there.  I could clearly see each of the characters who needed to be there having their own special moment.  I even knew why they were there, but I couldn’t figure out what they’d be doing DURING the fight.  Most of the scenes I was picturing were aftermath moments, or pauses when the action moved elsewhere, so they had to be on hand.  But what were they doing while the action was happening was puzzling me.

I tried turning it over again and again in my mind only to realize I was once more dealing with a mental version of my old nemesis the Rubik’s Cube.  Only this time it was more intimidating than ever before…

I began to feel like I’d never solve this problem.  Again and again I’d start thinking I had the solution, because I could see the goal in the distance.  I’d even make good progress towards getting there, but then I’d find myself hitting another wall.  It was like wandering through the most frustrating maze I’d ever encountered.

Then yesterday, the breakthrough finally hit me.  I needed to work on the final battle FIRST and then let the rest of the story follow.  I had to place every character I wanted into that scene and find out for myself what they could/would/and finally did in that climactic moment.  Only then could I justify to myself as well as the reader, why they needed to be in this story in the first place.

Now normally I don’t usually work this way.  I’ve always used a loose outline, like in this case, and knew where I was going and led the characters to that moment.  Plus, I still needed to see what that final confrontation was going to look like for myself.

Immediately, I looked back at my own works “The Bridge” and “The Ship” and re-read the final battle scenes for each of them.  I quickly realized I had a tendency to go for some pretty impressive battles, that seemed almost impossible for any person to win.  But that’s always been my philosophy in writing.  The more daunting the odds, the more impressive the heroes are for overcoming them.

I would have to go big for this third installment, but not just in size.  I had to deliver something new and special for the readers.  I’d given them glimpses into some of the Para-Earths where my previous antagonists came from.  This time I needed to show the readers WHY some of these being needed to be kept out of our world!

At that moment, I knew what I needed to do… it was time to open “The Door” and let the nightmares from one of those other places come through.   With a threat of this magnitude in mind, I now know exactly how important it will be to have “All hands on deck”, as well as how to utilize each and every character in that scene.

So there you have it folks, once again I say “There is no one specific to write a story”.   We each may have our own special methods of writing, but sometimes even those techniques may not always be enough.  There will be days when we need to discover and add new tools to our already impressive arsenal.

I’m very eager and excited to get back to the story now.  I know that working that final confrontation is going to make how I continue to write certain characters in earlier sections of the book much easier. I already knew their motivations for the most part, but I suspect I’ll have better insight into their personalities because I’ll have a more clear idea of just how far their willing to go for their ultimate goals.

Remember everyone, stories can take many paths.  But in the end its the writer to must choose or forge the right one that will best serve the purpose in the end.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


Chekhov’s Gun…

There’s an old trope that applies to theater and to writing.  It is credited to Anton Chekhov, author/playwright.  In a letter to a friend in 1889 he said, “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.”  Since then, the phrase “Chekhov’s Gun” has become associated with the idea of not introducing something ‘interesting’ or ‘irrelevant’ into a piece, whether it be a stage play or a story, that is not actually poignant to the story.  If you put a gun into a scene, make sure someone uses it before the story is finished.  Don’t just leave it lying there gathering dust.  Why?  If you were doing a story involving a killer like Jason Voorhees/Michael Myers, before anyone knew they were unkillable, and they were closing in on the hero/heroine in the room where the gun is in plain sight you’d have the person use it, right?  You wouldn’t have them grab a curtain to try and keep the killer at bay with Chintz fabric… unless you were doing a very strange comedy perhaps.

In any case, the idea of not introducing elements or ideas into your story and then not going anywhere with them is a big “No-no”.  It’s all right to leave a few dangling threads unfinished in a story, provided you make it clear to the reader that there will be sequels involving the characters or villain.  The easiest way this can be achieved is by letting the ending be ambiguous or open-ended.  Or one can make it quite clear that the villain or one of their allies decide that things are not over and that they are clearly planning to come after the heroes at a later date.

But what if the ‘gun’ on the table is an idea or a character you’ve introduced early on in the story and then do very little or nothing with later in the tale?  This is not to say that background characters are not needed.  Those folks are always useful as a plot device, even if it’s just to let one of the characters confide or share some internal turmoil to them, so the audience knows about it.  Suddenly, that background character has played a key point in the story.  But what if there was no scene like that?  What purpose did that background character serve?  Why were they there in the first place?  Now that person is “Chekhov’s Gun”.  Do you keep him/her or…

I bring this up, because recently while working on “The Door” I was winding up with a couple of characters who where turning into Chekhov’s Gun.  I had plans for them, big ones.  In fact they were to play major roles in the final confrontation, but in the meantime I was doing very little with them. I’d given them impressive introductions, but then wound up leaving them on the table.  When it occurred to me how much further I’d gotten into the story with little or no further appearances by them I was shocked.  How could this have happened?  I needed these people for the final confrontation, so I couldn’t just drop them from the story.  Or could I?  Were they truly necessary?  Couldn’t I still create a dramatic final battle without them and go in a different direction?

Once again I’d come to that infamous crossroads.

  I could take the story in several different directions at this point.  It had evolved and new dimensions had been added to it that had not occurred to me before.  The number of possibilities was almost too much to take in.  I could lose those characters completely and continue or I could go back and add new scenes with them adding elements of menace and suspicion.  I could also just make a few references to them and then bring them in towards the end, but that idea did not appeal to me.  I am one of those who hates having a cavalry appear out of nowhere at the last second without a good explanation as to how they wound up showing up on the first place.  Or I could go ahead and drop them from the story thus simplifying my life.

That idea sounded tempting.  All I would have to do was place my hands on the keyboard and eliminate them with a few strokes of my fingers.

But I didn’t.  They were my ‘gun on the table’ and I’d introduced them for a reason.  Future stories relied on their being in this story and fulfilling the original purpose I’d intended for them.  So I kept them, but I didn’t just leave them on that table.  Oh no, my friends.  I decided to make them more interesting and sinister.  A gun on a table could be loaded or empty.  I chose to slowly make it clear that this gun had a purpose.  So I added some new elements to that table setting.

Now my purpose was more clear to the reader.  These people were more than background props.  They had a purpose, one that could be for good or evil.  Which is the answer?  You’ll have to wait until the book is finished.  But know, I recognized a shortcoming in my story and weighed the options for how to deal with it.  Keep your readers in mind when you write.  Think of how the story is playing out from their point of view.  Play fair with them, give them the clues or hints of where this might be going, but not too much.  Keep a few surprises and twists up your sleeve, but remember that some of those elements can be introduced early on.  You just don’t necessarily reveal everything about them until the right moment.

As for me, work on the “The Door” continues.  I know what I’m doing with my ‘gun’ and now I’m running with it.  So until next time, take care and keep writing.


I have been having a tough time getting a completed 1st draft of “The Door” finished by the end of this month as I originally planned.  The story is coming along very nicely, however I had hoped to release it by late September/ mid-October, which is becoming less and less likely.

Furthermore, I had already planned on releasing “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” in December to catch the holiday crowds.  

So I would like to know how you would feel about a “Double-Release” in December?

I have been hearing from a number of people who have been clamoring for one or both books, and I’m perfectly at ease with the idea of releasing both at or around the same time.  

Furthermore, I want to let you all know that I’ve already got at least one other book lined up for the middle of next year, so you won’t have to wait long for another installment.  

Please leave your thoughts on this idea in the comment section below.  Your opinions are important to me, so please take advantage of this opportunity to express your feelings and wishes.  

Thank you.  

P. S.  The next entry will go back to talking about my collaborators and how I chose them.  Until then, keep writing.

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