Tag Archive: “The Vampyre Blogs”



Building an audience and marketing yourself…

These six words strike fear and terror into the hearts of almost every new author I meet. 

It also has the same effect on some of the more experienced authors I know as well.  Why?  Because there isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ that will solve the problem for you.  There are so many different methods out there to try and raise audience awareness of your work and who you are.    Plus there’s no guarantee which method is going to be the right one for you.  So you have keep trying and trying until you find one that works.  This is especially hard if you don’t have a good budget to work with.  Many sites will promote your books for a fee.  Oh there are some that will do it for free, but the results vary from author to author.

You can also hire a publicity group to try and build hype, but even then you have to be careful.  The words “Buyer beware” applies to hiring someone else to promote your work.  There have been a number of scams out there where new authors have gotten burned, so be careful how and where you spend your money.  Talk with other authors who have a good track record and ask them who they used or believe to be trustworthy.

It’s important to try and build an audience in advance of your book coming out.  This way you have at least a base group of people interested in checking out your work and buying it.  Remember, this is what readers face when they go into a bookstore or library…

This is also what they see in their mind when they’re shopping online for something to read.

There are so many choices out there, so they need our help.  They need to know a bit about your work in advance so they can narrow their search down.

But how do you find those readers?  By helping them find you.  How?  Well, blogging helps.  It get’s people familiar with who you are and your style of writing.  You can share thoughts and insights about the writing process so they get to know you a bit more and what to expect in your book.  Sharing snippets from your work is always a good thing too.  It gives you a chance to hook them in advance so they’re all ready to grab that book as soon as it comes out.

This brings me to today’s topic.  As many of you know, I’m working on my first vampyre book.  It will be part of my Para-Earth Series.  In it you will meet a Union soldier from the Civil War who was blown into one of those strange Para-Earths and managed to find his way back to this world.  But the experience changed him in more ways than one…  I’ve been chronicling some of his adventures along with those of other characters who will be appearing in the novel.  All of the entries on the blog are basically short stories so the readers can meet and learn about the characters before the actual book comes out.  I’ve also made it plain to the readers that the entries they are reading are supplemental material and will NOT appear in the novel itself.  The novel will be a complete long brand new adventure in and of itself.  And I’ve been getting more and more positive responses along with more followers.  But that hasn’t been enough for me.  I want more people reading that blog and spreading the word.  The question is how to make that happen?

Well, I thought about my target audience, namely fans of vampires and where might I find them?  Since I’m attending university, I realized the populace of any community college or university will surely have a large audience into vampires.  But how to get the word out?  My solution… business cards.  I’ve ordered some and will be sharing them here on the blog as soon as they come in.  After that I will be dispersing them among classmates and leaving them all around the campus for people to find.  After all, most colleges will have a Student Hall or Union building, plus there are the cafeterias as well.  Not to mention dozens of coffee shops, laundromats, etc.  Basically any place where people congregate or have to sit down and need something to look at is a good place to leave or hand the cards out.

Plus, I’m already asking Facebook friends if any of them would like me to mail a stack of cards to them to hand out.  Many are already saying “Yes”.  And I make that same request here as well.  If any of you would like me to send you some of the cards to distribute to friends, family, co-workers, etc.  just let me know.  As soon as I’ve got the cards I’ll be asking for addresses and mailing them out to you.

How well will this work?  I don’t know.  But the cards will be directing people to the blog itself so they have something to read in advance while the book is being prepped for its December release.

If you’d like to check that blog out for yourself here’s the link: http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/ 

 I hope you find what you read fun and exciting.  I have high hopes for Nathaniel (my vampyre) and company.  They will not be a one shot deal.  I’m going to be making more novels about him as well as my other characters who will sometimes overlap with him.

That’s all I have for now.  I hope you find this idea interesting and I promise to keep you all informed on how things go.  How will I know if this effort is succeeding?  Well, the number new readers on the blog will be a big indication, so I’ll be keeping an eye on it once the cards start going out.

Until next time, take care and keep writing!


Don’t trash that crappy first draft!

Oh it may be full of grammatical errors that would send your high school English teachers into hysterics but that’s not reason enough to throw it away.  And maybe the plot line may move like a 1920’s Model T going backwards up the crooked mile, still is it truly worth destroying?  And perhaps most of the characters may be as shallow as a puddle, and probably deserve to be drowned in one, but do not throw that draft away!

Instead I want you read every last word, even if it’s hard as hell to get past the first few pages, keep reading!  Do not stop until you’ve read the entire thing.

Why? I hear you ask.

Because, that shitty first draft may be the most important one you ever write.

I’m being serious here folks.  And no I’m not going to be going on about how every journey in writing starts with a first draft, or something like that.  What I am going to tell you is that first drafts, even the lamest ones, have value.

When I first started writing “The Door”, it was going to be the second book in my Para-Earth series.  Mainly because it was going take up exactly where the first book “The Bridge” left off.  I thought there was no way I could possibly put another story in between the two, even though I really wanted to focus on the second lead couple (Cassandra Elliott, and Julie Cloudfoot) and their blossoming relationship.  My original plan was to develop their growing love in the second book, but things were getting too complicated.  Too many characters, too many subplots, I had to scale back.  So after writing almost 70,000 words in “The Door”, I said enough and set it aside.  Instead, I followed some “bread crumbs” I’d left myself (see my blog entry from January 31st https://akrummenacker.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/follow-the-breadcrumbs/) back in “The Bridge” and found an opening.

I had clearly stated that a month had passed between the climactic battle and the events that happened in the epilogue.  I had also sent Julie and Cassie over to the west coast.  I had plenty of room for a story in between that would involve just the two of them, as well as leading them back to witness the events that took place during the epilogue of “The Bridge”.  Thus, “The Ship” was born.

But even after I finished “The Ship” and published it, I was not ready to back to “The Door”.  Instead,  a new character had captured my imagination and I began work on “The Vampyre Blogs”, hoping to release it next, before returning to “The Door”.

However, after finishing the first draft of “The Vampyre Blogs” I realized I wanted to release it around Halloween and the time had passed.  So I sent it off to my editor for corrections, even though it was a first draft.  I know it will go through many more changes, but in the meantime, I needed to get back to “The Door” because it had to come before my vampyre’s first tale.  I needed to finish the underlying story arc that was running through my first two books.  It’s turn had come and I needed to finish it.

By this time it had been over two years since I last looked at it, so it was with experienced eyes that I pulled it out and started to look at the first few pages.  Originally, I thought it would be easy to insert just a few scenes and continue the flow I had started, but it didn’t work out that way.

Thanks to “The Ship” so many plans and ideas had to be scrapped.  And my writing style had changed.  A number of people told me how much my writing had ‘matured’ and now I could clearly see it for myself.  So much had to be changed and rewritten.  At times it almost seemed too much.

I began to doubt myself and wondered if I was really up to the challenge.  Could I really make this story work?  Time and again, I kept running up against ideas that no longer fit, and characters who needed to be removed from the story entirely.  I began to question myself and ask, “Should I just trash this and start over from scratch?”  But then I’d run across scenes that were perfectly fine and still flowed beautifully with the new stuff I was creating.   In fact, it felt like what was I creating now was way better than what I’d originally done.  And at the same time, the overall storyline was still following what I had wanted all along.  In fact, I’d found ways to improve it.

But I was still running up against obstacles and areas where I just wasn’t sure what to do.

Then by sheer chance, I was scrolling through the new draft which was being built on top of a duplicate file of the original first draft.  But I overshot where I had left off and found a scene I had completely forgotten about.  Pausing I re-read my words and was taken aback by the power of the scene and the beauty I’d created.  This scene HAD to stay, I told myself.  Then I began thinking, ‘Are there other scenes like this one I’ve forgotten?’

So I did the unthinkable…

I stopped work on “The Door” and took a few steps back.  Instead of writing, I decided to read every word and every page of the original first draft.

It hasn’t been easy at times, but I’ve been unearthing scenes that to me are absolute treasures.  I’ve also been cutting and removing other scenes and characters who no longer have any place in this book, but might be good for another story down the road.  I’ve saved those sections and preserved them in a separate file folder.  Those who’ve been following this blog know I always urge writers to do this.  What may not be working in your current book, might be just the thing you need in another one down the road.

As for the scenes I’m keeping, I am breathing a sigh of relief.  Some of them are better than I anything I might have tried to replace them with.  New ideas and ways to move the story forward are opening up to me.  But I still have to finish re-reading that ‘shitty first draft’ before I start writing new scenes.

There are more scenes and ideas I’ve forgotten about, of that I’m sure.  I may not want to keep all of them, but I suspect even if I don’t keep any of it, they will give me knew ideas.  So don’t give up completely on that first draft.  Save it, learn from it, and build from it.  You might even want to preserve certain scenes from it.

All stories start with a first draft that can be more than a little rough around the edges.  But without a first draft, you can’t begin your story.

Until next time, take care of yourselves my friends, and keep writing.


I had planned on releasing a special short story on Christmas Day for all my readers.  The original idea had been to release it on Smashwords for free, in order for everyone to take advantage of their new Nooks, Kindles, I-Pads, etc.  However due to all a heavy last minute cram everything into the last few weeks of the semester at my university, I never got to do a cover and several other things needed before the story could go up on Smashwords.

So instead, I’ve been releasing the story in chapters on my other blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Special Edition”.  

What makes this story so special is that it involves not only my vampyre character Nathaniel, but several other familiar faces faces from my first published novel “The Bridge”. I set the story sixteen years in the past so as not to conflict with that took place in “The Bridge”.

I’ll continue to release more chapters each day up until Christmas where the story will reach its climax.   Depending on the response I get, I hope to do the same thing next year with a brand new story.

At the same time, I’ll be releasing the current story in its entirety for Kindle, Nook, and other e-books with but with an original artwork cover, proper editing, and possibly some illustrations (fingers crossed).

In the meantime, let the holiday reading begin.  I’m providing links to Parts I and II just below.  Tomorrow I’ll post the link for part III and so on until Christmas day.  I hope you all take advantage and enjoy the story.  Please leave feedback here or over at “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”.so I know what you all thought of the story and your opinions on my releasing it installments.

“Home For Christmas: A Para-Earth Holiday Tale”

PART I: http://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/home-for-christmas-a-para-earth-holiday-tale-part-one/

PART II: http://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/home-for-christmas-a-para-earth-holiday-tale-part-two/


For just about all writers, the choice of voice or perspective to use is always a challenge.  Although many write in the third person voice, there are two options.  Do you do ‘limited’ where we only know what’s going through one characters mind, or do you use the ‘omniscient’ version where the readers get to know what’s going through everyone’s mind at the same time, even if the characters are not sharing all their thoughts with each other.

I did the ‘limited’ third person point of view in my first two novels.  However I kept changing who’s head we were inside with each chapter, giving a nice build up and differing points of view.  So in the new novel I’m working on  “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” I wanted to try 1st person perspective, but still do multiple points of view.  So, with my wife’s advice, I chose the same method Bram Stoker used to write “Dracula”.  He did 1st person from many different points of view by using letters, journal entries, diaries, etc. and it worked.

In my case, I went for blog and e-journal entries to tell my story, as well as some newspaper clippings to help supply background information for the reader.  Now, I know I’ve said all this before, but I wanted to repeat it for the benefit of anyone who had missed those earlier entries.  What I did not count on was dealing with Present Tense vs. Past Tense in the First Person.

I realized I might have a problem after I started the 2nd draft of the novel and started noticing that some entries were in the past tense, while others were in the present.  Sometimes I kept going back and forth within the same chapter.  So then I had to decide between which one to use.  After careful consideration, I decided past tense made the most sense, since when one is doing a blog entry about an event they are reflecting back on what happened.  It is not happening there and then as they write.

This of course gave me a much larger task of rewriting the 2nd draft.

However, I have prevailed and am just about done with the 2nd draft.  But now I am growing concerned about another issue.  “Telling” vs. “Showing”.  Am I just having my characters ‘tell’ a story or am I managing to bring my readers into my characters memories so they can ‘see’ it as it happened?   I’ll be going over the entire novel again and after some corrections, send it out to some beta-readers to get their opinions on the piece.

I never imagined how intricate this particular novel was going to become.  It’s been a lot of work, but I’m rather enjoying the challenge.  If I do pull it off correctly, I think my readers will be very pleased and clamoring for more of Nathaniel and company.  But only time will tell.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now.  If anyone has had more experience with these issues I’d love to hear about them.  Please leave comments down below so not only me, but others can learn from your experiences.

Until next time, keep writing.


 In case you hadn’t heard, I started attending the California State University at Monterey Bay in August and the workload had been fairly manageable, until recently.  Things are heating up and I have less and less time to work on my novels, including “The Vampyre Blogs”.  I had planned on getting the latest draft finished, edited, beta-read, etc. so I could have it out in time for Christmas.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  I’ve said before I will not release a book until it’s had all those things done to it.  Currently, I’m still trying to finish the 2nd draft and I’m still not entirely happy with the piece.  Plus I haven’t even started on a cover for the book.  I have one that I made with the computer.

However, I’m not totally sold on this version really.  I’d prefer to try and do a soft pastel piece and then super-impose this image on top of the scene I create with the pastel.
Furthermore, with the holidays getting closer and closer, there’s not way I could expect any of my beta-readers to go over the book and give me their feedback on the eve of major cooking and shopping.
So I’m putting things off until next year.  Mind you, I’m still going to be posting more mini-stories of my vampyre Nathaniel and his friends over at The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition.  If you haven’t checked them out yet here’s the link:
At this point I want to let you all know you won’t be without anything new from me this holiday season.  I’ll be putting together a short story that I’ll release through Smashwords just in time for Christmas.  Smashwords carries e-books for Nook, Kindle, Sony, Apple, or even PDF for those who don’t have an e-reader so you can enjoy it on your regular computer, laptop, or even your phone.  This will be a holiday tale that will involve a crossover of sorts.  My vampyre Nathaniel will be interacting with several characters from “The Bridge”.  Who will appear, I won’t say at this time.  Just be assured you’ll be seeing some familiar faces within the pages of that story.
Finally, I want to also let you all know that you won’t have to wait until October or December of next year for my next novel.  As soon as I get a break from university, I’ll be getting back to work on “The Door”, which will star Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra.  The story will take up where both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” ended and will answer a number of questions that have been hanging over both novels, including the secret of Brandon and his white-haired nemesis.
Where will I go with my Para-Earth Series after that?  Well here’s a list for the next 2-3 years and what they will involve:

Mid-2015 “The Door”

Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra face a new threat which is connected directly to Cassandra’s family dating back over three hundred and fifty years.

October/December 2015 “The Vampyre Blogs – Homecoming”

  In 1862 Nathaniel Steward was only sixteen years old.  He left home to fight in the Union Army, knowing the experience might change him.  He had no idea how much it would.  Now, 150 years later, he’s finally coming back to what he thinks is an empty manor.  What he doesn’t know is someone has been waiting, and some ‘thing’ is following him, a being that does no belong in this world.

Mid-2016 “In The Shadow Of The Door”

Cassandra’s ghostly protector Brandon has always been an enigma to many.  Now, we get to hear his story which will lead directly up to the events that took place in my third book, “The Door”.

December 2016, “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

Nathaniel is back and he’s not alone.  A mystery involving a member of his family has arisen, but so has an old enemy.  New dangers arise that threaten not only those he loves, but his entire hometown.  Like any soldier he will fight to protect his place of birth, but it may cost him his very existence.

Mid-2017 – No Title Yet

Brandon’s story continues as he and his uncle continue to struggle with the family curse that everyone believed was over.  The threat has been thwarted but not ended and time is running out.  Soon the door will be reopened and nothing will be able to stop what will come out of it if they don’t seal it for good first.

December 2017, “Harlequin House”

When Alex was only twelve he entered inside the most haunted place on the planet with a team of paranormal investigators.  Most of the team died before his very eyes and he barely got out with his sanity intact.  Now, twenty years later, he’s going back.  Will he be as fortunate this time?

So there you have it folks.  That’s my plans for the next couple of years.  Most of this will depend on how much time I have to write in between my studies of course, but I’m going to do my best to keep to this schedule.  I hope you like what you’ve seen here and look forward to the books as they come out.
That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves.  And as always, keep writing.

Happy Halloween

*HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!  I decided to give you all a treat by sharing a snippet from my upcoming novel “The Vampyre Blogs”, which will be coming out this Christmas. 

 I was careful to choose this particular entry since it involves all three of my main characters dealing with a the scene is one most of us can relate to.  Here we have Marisa a seventeen year old young lady being comforted my vampyre Nathaniel and his goddaughter Lisa.  Marisa (who has no idea what Nathaniel really is) has an intense dislike for vampires even though they don’t really exist according to her.  She hates movies, books and television shows about them because in her mind they have come to embody cancer (which her father is struggling against) in a human form.  

The scene takes place inside an old four story building Nathaniel owns.  He keeps a dance club downstairs, while on the top floor he has an art studio where he likes to paint at night.  Marisa has just had a run in with another girl and is been being comforted by Nathaniel and her best friend Lisa (who is also Nathaniel’s goddaughter).  As you might expect, Lisa knows all about him, including how to keep his secret.  

The three are up in the studio where Nathaniel has been showing the two of them some of his paintings, which include several images of a young woman of Romani descent.  He’s just finished explaining she was his wife and that she died in his arms after being abducted, a few years ago.  

This book IS part of my Para-Earth Series, but does not involve any of my earlier characters.  However, this doesn’t mean they won’t meet down the road…mwahahah.  Also, this is my first attempt to introduce a character from this world who went into one of the Para-Earths and came back… alive, but changed.

So without further ado, here are Marisa, Lisa and Nathaniel.  Happy Halloween my friends.*

MARISA’S MUSINGS – October 7th, 2012

It’s been such a strange day, especially this evening.  I still don’t know what think at the moment.

Waking up and finding Dad was still at home sitting in front of the TV just like in my dreams, gave me a start.  Especially when I saw he looked a little greyish, but then Mom opened the curtains and I saw he was just tired.  I literally blew a sigh of relief, but it still set me on edge for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, most of my classes were on the quiet and boring side today, which meant I kept worrying about my dad.

Thank God Lisa was in all of them with me.  I don’t know what I would’ve done without her around trying to distract me.  But I still couldn’t get that damn dream out of my head.  It had felt so real.  Then, just as we arrived at The Crypt, I started wondering if it had actually been some kind of warning. The idea it might be really put me on edge.

Unfortunately, that’s when Dianne showed up and started in with me, as usual.  Normally I can ignore her comments, but tonight, I just couldn’t.  God I feel so bad about what happened.  Poor Lisa got caught up in things and could’ve wound up getting hurt if Nathaniel hadn’t stepped in when he did.

I still feel bad about blowing up at him the way I did at the time.  But that’s not the only thing that’s bothering me about him.  After tonight, I can’t look at him the same way I used to.

Finding out he was once married and that his wife pass away in his arms, really hit me hard.  I guess that’s why I kissed him the way I did.  I just wanted to wipe away the pain I knew he was experiencing at that moment, along with my own.  I didn’t tongue him or anything, but for a second I nearly did.  Something about him that made me feel so alive that I didn’t want it to stop.  But I remembered Lisa was with us and I know she has a crush on him.  So I backed off.  But a part of me wanted to go right back to kissing him.   I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone so bad in all my life.

And truth be told, I still want him.  But I’m also a little leery of him, because of because of what happened next.

I excused myself and started to fix my make-up.  After all that crying I’d done earlier, I knew I must look like hell.

Nathaniel was kind enough to walk away and give me my space, while Lisa checked on me quick before she went over to join him at the window.  As I heard the two of them talking quietly, I stole a glance over my shoulder.  Lisa was hanging onto him in a playful way, and I started to get jealous for a moment.

Quickly, I shook my head and pulled out my compact so I could use the mirror as I fixed my make-up.  Surprisingly, I didn’t look too bad and was able to make myself presentable rather quickly.

Then I decided to use the mirror to take another at Lisa and Nathaniel to see what they were up to.  And that’s when it happened.  I could see Lisa still acting if she were draped all over Nathaniel, only he wasn’t there.

I blinked and stared at the mirror again, but the image had not changed.  From the way Lisa was positioned, I knew she had to be hanging onto someone, because there was no way she could keep her balance in that pose.  But there was no one there.

Carefully I took another look over my shoulder and saw the two of them just as I had before.  Then I looked back at my mirror and saw only Lisa holding on to empty air.  I let out a little gasp and dropped everything, including the compact which shattered on impact.

Immediately, Lisa came rushing over to see what was wrong and quickly helped me gather everything.  Nathaniel on the other had stayed by the window.  He seemed to be in deep thought.

Naturally, I didn’t tell either of them what I saw, or rather what I didn’t see.  Instead, after Lisa helped me get all my make-up back in the purse, I told them I felt like going back down to the dance floor.   I’d remembered there were huge mirrors on the walls down there and wanted to see what would happen when we got down there.

To my amazement and relief, I saw all three of our reflections in every one of them.  At that point I was fully ready to believe my eyes had simply played a trick on me.

But now my mind has gone back to the day in my Aunt Betsy’s office when I first met Nathaniel.  She had brought in those beautiful fresh cut flowers.  But after he went near them to get his coat and hat,  we’d found them black and withered.

Is he what I think he is?  I’ve seen enough movies to know all the signs.   Yet, I saw his reflection in the mirrors of the club.  Plus he has a bunch of mirrors in his home which I’ve seen him use.

No, I think I’ve just been stressing out too much lately.  There’s no such thing as vampires.  Right?

Trick or treat

A DECISION HAS BEEN MADE!


*UPDATE:  THE NEXT BOOKS IN MY PARA-EARTH SERIES WILL BE…*

After giving it a lot of thought and listening to feedback from readers both here and on my blogs I’ve come to a final decision on what order the next few books will be coming in…

Late November 2014 “THE VAMPYRE BLOGS” will be released first.  This will be the first of at least 2 books.  The story line I’ve been creating has grown to such an extent that it cannot be told in just one novel   So I will do what I’ve been doing with the other books.  A complete story will be told with a few dangling plot lines that will be addressed and wrapped up in the 2nd book which will come in time for Christmas 2015.

In May 2015 “THE DOOR” will be released and will take up where both “THE BRIDGE” and “THE SHIP” left off.  It will reunite Alex, Veronica, Cassie and Julie.  I won’t give any spoilers away except to say that not only with the looming confrontation with the mysterious white-haired man will take place, but also the secret behind the ghostly Brandon will be fully revealed.

NOTE: Even though the story will wrap up a number of plot lines, this will NOT be the last you see of these characters.  They will be back in future stories as well as making appearances in other novels  So if you’ve grown attached to them, know you’ll be seeing more of them down the road.

So that’s where things stand and what you can expect in the next 18 months folks.  I want to thank everyone who gave me feedback.  I plan to try and release 2 novels a year, provided my school schedule for the next 3 years will permit.

In the meantime, please spread the word about my books to everyone you know.  I’m leaving the link to my webpage below, which has both books and how to get them in whichever format they wish: KINDLE, NOOK, PDF, SONY E-READER, APPLE, or TRADE PAPERBACK:

http://allankrummenacker.wix.com/allan-krummenacker

ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA…


My life has grown more complicated and I need you my readers to help me decide a course of action to take.

Yesterday, I attended  an Orientation for the California State University of Monterey Bay, which I will be entering this Fall.  I will be pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Collaborative Health and Human Services.  The plan is for me to attend for 3 full years instead of just 2.  This will allow us to continue residing on campus in very comfortable housing, provided I take 12 units a semester.

However, a wrinkle occurred yesterday when I signed up for classes.  I wound up with 15 units because there were certain classes I HAVE to take before the Spring semester, so I had to bite the bullet on this semester. Future semesters will be kept to 12 or so units.

This greater workload now presents me with a dilemma.  Originally, I was planning to get the first installment of “THE VAMPYRE BLOGS” out this December.  Unfortunately, I’m hearing form various folks who have recently read “THE SHIP” and are eager for me to continue with the characters from this part of the series (Cassie, Julie, Alex and Veronica).  The next installment of their story “THE DOOR” will wrap up a number of plot lines that have been running throughout the first 2 books.  “THE DOOR” will not mean an end for these characters by any means. I’ll be using them more, but the major underlying sub-plot which involves a white-haired individual and the secret of Brandon would finally be explained.

On the other hand, I know there’s a growing crowd eager for “THE VAMPYRE BLOGS”, however that story line seems to be growing even bigger than I originally planned and may have to be told in 2 or more installments.  Originally, I had planned to unveil “THE VAMPYRE BLOGS” this December, but with it growing larger and larger I’m not sure I can keep this deadline.

This brings me to a dilemma. Knowing I’ll have less time to work from August to December, which book should I concentrate on?

Both “THE DOOR” and “THE VAMYPRE BLOGS” are part way finished. Which one would you all like to see come out this December? Please leave your comments below and help me decide, thank you.

Looking forward to hearing your input.  Until next time, keep writing…


Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  After lining up my Beta-Readers, the allergy season kicked into unbelievably high gear and knocked the breath out of me literally!  What energies I’ve had have been dedicated to working on The Vampyre Blogs novel itself and formatting “THE SHIP” to be ready to go to Smashwords, Kindle and Createspace once I hear back from my beta-readers and make a few changes to the manuscript.

This brings me to today’s topic.  Formatting your book to go to press through these three outlets can be trying at times.  I’ve only had to go through it once so far and that was a little over a year ago when I published “THE BRIDGE”.  Luckily, I did remember a lot of what I learned back then for dealing with Kindle and Createspace.  Smashwords is taking a little more effort and I will address that topic in another entry very soon.

Today, I want to focus on a shortcut I’ve discovered that has made my formatting efforts for Createspace and Kindle go much faster and easier.  When you use Createspace you tell the system what size of paperback book you want to make.  In my case I’m partial to the 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback size.  I know my books are long to begin with and want the reader to get their money’s worth when they buy the paperback version of my work.

So, I told the system what I wanted and it gave me a template (HALLELUJAH!) to follow.  This template is blank and contains a number of things I’d never thought about before.  Things like:

1-A Title Page

2-Copyright Page

3-Acknowledgement Page

4-Dedication Page

5-Table of Contents

6-About the Author

All of these things are not always necessary for your book, but is advisable to protect your rights and to make things nicer for your readers.  And of course dedicating and saying thank you to those who had your back while you worked on your masterpiece.  But when you’re writing the story itself you don’t think about these things.  You’re focused on telling that story.  These things only come after you’re done.  But when you  are done, do you know how to create these pages?  How much spacing to use?  What order they go in?  Where on the page to put them so they look professional?

For me the answer was a big NO!  I hadn’t the first clue, so when I opted to download that template guess what was waiting for me, all set and ready to be filled in?  All of those little things.  But that was just the beginning.

How the paragraphs and my sentences lined up within the book itself was another issue.  Because each book is a different length, do you know how to line up your paragraphs on the pages so that none of the words get lost down where the binding meets?  How do you know that your paragraphs will line up on the opposite pages and look neat and professional?

I didn’t, but the template took care of that for me to.  The first time I did things I had to learn to redo my indentations and fix the paragraphs, adjust the margins etc. manually.  But this time I used the template and everything went much smoother this time.  To make life easier for myself in the future I SAVED the blank template as just that and then made a copy of it which I inserted “THE SHIP” into.

I then took the blank template and copied it again and started writing my third novel directly into it.  This way there will be no question about whether or not it will fit Createspace’s format guideline.  Plus, I get a sneak preview of what it’s going to look like in actual book form.

Another little benefit to using their templates is that Createspace does have an option that once your print-book form is ready to go, they can forward the file to Kindle and get in e-book format for you using the same template.  You can also submit to Kindle directly on your own through Amazon KDP, which is what I’m doing.  I only made a few changes such as removing the page numbers and headers found at the top of the pages since they don’t work on Kindle and just make a mess.

I’ve already pre-submitted what I’ve done and saw that indeed, in both cases, everything is lining up neatly.  I discovered after the fact that “THE BRIDGE” was messed up as far as paragraphs not lining up in the Kindle format.  I’ve taken it down for now and am making changes to correct that issue and will put it back up on Kindle just before “THE SHIP” comes out.

I’m really finding using Createspace’s template a real time saver and a good reminder of little details that need to be addressed when you’re going the Indie Publishing route.  I strongly advise others to check out their templates and use them.  They may save you a lot of time and frustration down the road.

I’ll keep you posted on how things go when I actually submit everything for final review.  And as promised, I will do a post about Smashwords guidelines and any templates I can locate.  Each system is a little different, you CANNOT use the Createspace or Kindle templates for Smashwords.  So stay tuned and until next time, keep writing.


“Welcome to Pointer, West Virginia”

 For those who have never heard of this place, do not fret. It doesn’t exist.  I made it up to be the setting for “The Vampyre Blogs”.  A good setting is extremely important to any story.  Your story’s setting can shape your character’s personality depending on how long they’ve lived there.  For instance, if they’ve been there a short time there’s the getting to know the place and the people.  Certain action sequences may take place in particular areas.  The town’s history may come into play.  If they’ve lived there all their lives, they should know a lot of people, have a reputation (are they considered cool, friendly, or weird by the other people?  Etc., etc…)  Already you can see the importance of your setting and you should know the place at least in your own mind, so you can convey it to the readers.  I don’t care if it’s a real place here on Earth or another world.  You need to become familiar with where your story is taking place.

I’ve touched on settings for stories in the past, but “Pointer, West Virginia” is very different for me. You see, I’ve never been to West Virginia.  I do not have any personal knowledge of what the place is like.  I don’t know how people talk there, what kind of accents they have, etc.  

Creating a fictional place doesn’t have to be super complicated, but whatever setting you build has to be believable.  In my case, I like to blend a bit of reality into my settings.  When I created New Swindon in Connecticut, for my first book “The Bridge”, I was familiar with the area where I placed it.  My grandmother had lived in Salisbury Connecticut for years and I became familiar with some of the other nearby towns.  I blended the characteristics of several of them to create New Swindon to make it seem more real and authentic.  I would refer to certain landmarks, roads and the things that actually do exist in real life.  This allowed me to make my town more believable and real.  

 In my second soon-to-be-released book, “The Ship”, I used an actual setting from real life that I was very familiar with.  However, I also took steps to make sure only my characters were fictional and that they blended right in with their real-life setting.  I had the knowledge of Santa Cruz and Seacliff to make this happen smoothly and very believable.  (Remember the old saying:  write what you know about).

So why am I using West Virginia, a place I’ve never been too, as the location for my third novel?  History!  West Virginia is steeped in it, especially when it comes to the Civil War, which is the time-frame my main character Nathaniel lived in.  So how did I approach this situation to so

So what did I do?  Simple, it was time for a little research on the internet and here is some of what I learned:

-West Virginia was created as a direct result of the Civil War.  Most of Virginia sided with the south during that turbulent time, except for the section now known as West Virginia.  They were not inclined to enforce slavery or returning runaway slaves, and decided to break off from the rest of Virginia.  There was a lot of tension when this happened, and there were a number of famous battles that took place within the newly formed state.

So right there I had a rich source of background to play with for my new novel.  However, I still had a number of obstacles to overcome for the story.  Where in West Virginia should I place my fictional town?  I checked over some county maps and saw where towns and cities were located and took notes.  I wanted an area that didn’t already have an actual town, so I could refer to the real places as being nearby.  Plus I wanted a location that was near the disputed Virginia/West Virginia border.  There were some hostilities there, and I had planned for my town’s history to include a bunch of raiders (southern sympathizers) who crossed the border and nearly wiped out Pointer’s population in one terrible “Night Of Fire”.  Could such a thing have happened?  Absolutely, because I checked up on atrocities that took place during the Civil War.  Both the North and South committed atrocities, some extremely barbaric.  So right there, I had foundation to create such a background history for the town.

I also, checked to find out what are the more prominent religions in the area, so I could populate the the town with a churches and denominations.  Plus I researched, what kinds of agriculture and commercial businesses are most prominent and where they are located in West Virginia.

 Now I know a lot of this sounds complicated and detailed, but I simply made a few notes to myself.  The object was to be able to make ‘general references’ to real aspects of the area, to make my fictional town blend in and seem more real.  That’s all.  I won’t be dedicating entire chapters to detailed descriptions, mostly it will be comments and points of reference made by the characters.  I even found where a community college is located in the county where I am placing my town, so one of the secondary characters can be an instructor there.
 

I know a lot of my readers may have never stepped foot in West Virginia, but there will also be some how do live there and I want them to feel like I treated their state fairly.  I try to make the settings enjoyable and fun to think about.  Who knows, some people may even want to visit them one day to see what it’s like for themselves.  It depends on the picture you paint, so to speak.

A few of your might be asking, how much time did I spend on researching the area?  Well, I’d say I spent a total of maybe 10-12 hours over a several day period to get my vision for “Pointer”.  I checked Google for images so I can describe buildings and streets, I checked maps for counties, I looked up the state’s governing body and typical law enforcement agencies, as well as the average population of towns so I could populate mine with the right number of civil servants and local government.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I checked out some of the state’s history.  Again I didn’t go into great detail, but simply made notes I could refer back to in order to make the town fit in and seem real.  Even the name of my fictional town comes from actual state history.  In May 1788 Fort Donally was attacked early in the morning hours by a group of indians led by Cornstalk.  The fort housed soldiers, wives and children.  One of the defenders who helped keep the gates blockaded and fired through a hole in the gate, was a slave named Dick Pointer.  For his courage and loyalty during the fight, he was given his freedom AND a piece of land with a cabin that people built just for him.  A rare honor at the time.  Upon his death in 1827 he was buried with military honors in Lewisburg West Virginia.

For my story, I’m going to have it that one of the children who saw him in action that day helped found my fictional town and named it after his hero.  A town named for a former slave would understandably be targeted by the raiders in my story and make it more believable.
So there you have it.  Here’s another one of my methods for making a believable fictional setting.  What are some of yours?  Please share in the comments below or give us links to a blog where you may have discussed your style of doing things.
I hope this entry has helped some of you.  And as always, take care and keep writing.
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