Message from the Authors…

I know it’s been a little while since we’ve posted something new here, but between the holidays and prepping our first audiobook, things have been very busy for us.

Luckily, the audiobook should be ready for beta-listeners by the end of tomorrow. The book in question is one of Helen’s solo books which stars Rafael Jones, a private investigator in 1947 who is about to discover that the supernatural does exist. Before the tale is finished, his own life will be changed forever as he faces a nest of vampires from Russia and learns that indeed “Forever’s Too Long”. This debut novel has already earned 5 star reviews from both the US and Canada, and has been followed up with a second tale “Forever Haunted”.

   

US Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=helen+krummenacker&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=Helen+Krummenacker&ref=nb_sb_noss

So what does this have to do with Nathan and company? Quite a lot, as “The Vampyre Blogs -Coming Home” AND “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” are both being turned into audiobooks as we speak. Their release dates will be announced in the coming months.

In the meantime, I wished to let you all know that brand new tales are on the way for this blog. “The Artist” is currently under way and will be appearing here in a week or two. This story will take both you and Nathan into uncharted waters in regards to the ‘bonds’ he creates with those who he has bitten and given some of himself to. I’d say more, but I don’t wish to spoil the surprise and direction this story will take.

I can also tell you that more tales of Nathan’s years in service during the Civil War after his return from the Para-Earth are in the works, as well as a second anthology which we hope to release before the end of this year.

Also, rest assured that the sequel to Nathan’s first novel, is also under way. “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” will be exploring not only Nathan’s return but that of a familiar enemy, as well as a new threat to that spells danger not only for Nathan’s homestead but the town as well. Thrills, new insights, and much more await you all in the pages of this new novel.

So please stay tuned and keep reading as the tales of encounters with other Para-Earths unfold before your eyes.

Lisa’s Private Thoughts, December 19th, 2012 – Christmas Tree Time

Tonight we got our Christmas tree.  Some of you may may think we’d left it a bit late, but since I’m a December baby, my parents got into the habit of waiting until after my birthday to put up any Christmas decorations.  One of my mother’s sisters was also a December baby who often complain about how her birthday got overshadowed by Christmas, so my parents go out of their way to make sure that did not happen with me.  Especially not this year when I turned sixteen.

But that had been over a week ago and I was more than ready for Christmas now.  In fact, I’m thinking of telling my parents next year that we should get our tree the day after Thanksgiving.  We could just decorate it for my birthday and then redo it again for Christmas.

You see I love the smell of pine trees and forests.  Especially in wintertime and at night.  Which is why going out to get our tree was so much fun this time.  As soon as dinner was over, Dad told us to get our coats and pile into the Suburban.  “It’s tree time!” he smiled.

“More like about time,” Mom muttered under her breath, while getting her coat on in record time.

Soon we were driving down a snowy lane with snow covered trees on either side of us.  There was no one else on the road, so it felt kind of spooky in some ways.  I swear, there’s nothing like being surrounded by huge trees at night to make you feel really small.  Yet it was beautiful at the same time.

After a while Mom said, “Where are going?  There aren’t any tree lots out this way.”

“We’re getting our tree the old fashion way, straight out of the best supplier known to man.  The forest itself,” Dad smiled.

“We’re going to chop one down?” I cried in dismay.

“No, Sweetie, we’re going to dig one up,” Dad corrected me.  “Remember, cut trees don’t last very long around Uncle Nate.”

Immediately, my mood skyrocketed even higher.  “He’s coming this year?”

“Dear, you weren’t supposed to say anything,” Mom scolded.

“She was going to find out anyway,” he told her,  “See, that’s him up ahead waiting for us.”

I practically climbed into the front seat with them to get a better look.  Sure enough, in a clearing up ahead stood Nathan wearing a an old fashion burgundy frock coat, with a black cape over it.  While on top of his blonde hear, he had a black beaver hat angled every so slightly to give him a dashing look.

By now my little brother Geoffrey, who had been sleeping the whole time woke up and started yelling, “Unca Nate… Unca Nate…” at the top of his little lungs.  If you haven’t guessed, he adores our godfather.

Luckily we were able to park quickly and got him out of the car.  Since I was right next to him, I ‘fun’ of getting him out of his car-seat.  Let me tell you, trying to deal with an overexcited two-year old who won’t stop squirming is an experience I won’t soon forget.  Nor will my stomach where he kept kicking me without realizing it, because he wanted to get to Nathan so badly.

Thank goodness Nathan saw my plight and took Geoffrey from me.  Immediately, my baby brother calmed down and started babbling at him in a mix of words and childish gibberish.  Mom and Dad looked on with amusement while Nathan hung on my brother’s every ‘word’ until he was finished.

“Well you certainly have had an interesting day,” Nathan told him, “I look forward to having more of these talks with you over the coming days.  But for now, we need to find a good tree and we have lots to choose from.”

Looking around I saw he was right.  We did have a lot of choices, but there was one slight problem.  “Kind of big aren’t they?” my Mom remarked, taking Geoffrey from him.

Nathan turned to my dad the two began muttering to one another.  I managed to catch a few snippets like: “I thought you said she’d be okay with punching a holes into the ceiling and possibly the roof…”  and  “….we’d have had to cut through some of the crossbeams and…”

I noticed Mom rolling her eyes several times before they finally finished.

Clapping his gloved hands Dad said, “Nathan says there’s some really nice trees over on the north slope just a few hundred yards from here. I just need to get the sled and pot out from the back of the car.”

“Did you remember the shovels?” Mom asked, and he froze.

Immediately my father froze and winced.  “Oops.”

“Dad!” I cried but Nathan intervened saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.  Just follow me.”  and with that he started heading off towards the north slope.

Naturally I raced to join him.  Soon the whole family was following close behind as we slowly made our way through the snowy woods.

At one point we spotted some deer nearby, who did not seem to mind our presence at all.  They stared at us for a while, until they were sure we didn’t have anything to offer them and then moved on.  Soon we emerged from the forest and into what was undoubtedly the north slope.

All around us stood pines ranging from four feet to heaven knows, all covered in snow.  It was a beautiful sight.  I almost felt guilty for our intruding on such a festive scene.  But, we were here on a mission and I knew weren’t going to leave until we located and secured our quarry.

After a few minutes, of knocking snow off a few of the six foot trees, my parents found one they liked.  I had to agree, that their choice was a good one.  It had a lovely shape and would fit nicely in the living room.  But first we had to get it out of the ground.

Turning to Nathan I said, “So how do you plan to get this puppy out of the ground without shovels?”

Smiling he said, “Funny you should mention the word ‘puppy’.”  With that he took a few steps away from me and knelt down in the snow, covering himself entirely with the black cloak.  For several seconds nothing happened.  Then there was movement under the ebony cloth and soon two large black dogs emerged from underneath the cape which fell to the ground and became flat.

“PUPPIES!” my little brother cried excitedly.  He loves dogs, but can’t play with them because he’s very allergic to their fur.  A part of me quickly surmised that this would not be a problem with these two beasts.  As if to prove my point, they went over to where my mother was holding Geoffrey, and allowed him to pet them.

Then the pair trotted over to where the tree we’d chosen stood and began digging in a circle.  Snow went flying in all directions, making the rest of us take a few steps back to keep out of range.  But soon, the dark soil began to replace the white stuff letting us know the real work had begun.  Out of curiosity I bent down and picked up a piece of the thrown soil and found it was still quite solid and frozen.

I shook my head in wonder and marveled at the power of my godfather once more.  I’ve long known of his shape-shifting talents, but sometimes forget just how much strength he is capable of demonstrating.

  

Within minutes the tree wobbles and tilts to one side, as the two dogs emerge from behind it and slip back under the black coat from which they’d emerged.  As my father brings the sled with the big pot on it near the tree, I watch the shapes moving beneath the cape and breathe a sigh of relief when I see hands appear and Nathan stands up.  As he readjusted his hat, I could see that there’s not a speck of anywhere on his hands or face.  He truly is a wonder to behold sometimes.

Anyway, he and Dad managed to lift the tree with its large ball of dirt and roots, into the big pot… or rather tub on the sleigh and quickly made sure it was a good fit.  Then we headed back to the cars and stood it upright in the back of the pickup, Nathan had brought.  In a few weeks, we’ll bring it back and replant it, just as Nathan has shown us so it can continue its life among its siblings.

Two hours later, we had the tree back at home and fully decorated.  Dad has just lit the log in the fireplace, while Nathan is resting on the sofa with a blanket over his legs.  Or rather where his legs would be.  On the floor nearby, Geoffrey is playing with a couple of smaller versions of the black dogs who dug our Christmas tree out of the ground.

Poor Nathan, he’s going to be legless for a good hour or more, meaning he’ll be stuck on the sofa.  I’m going to join him after I finish this post.  He’s going to be staying with us all throughout the holidays this year.  Normally he heads to Connecticut to visit another part of his ‘extended’ family to spend Christmas Eve, but they are celebrating elsewhere this year which means he’s all mine… or rather ours this time.

Glancing over at the archway that leads to the kitchen I can see my mom and dad enjoying a good long kiss under the mistletoe.   I love seeing them like that.  It really makes the season all the more right to me.

Love, family and friends, those are the greatest gifts to have at this time of year.  And I’m going to go get a little of the first, right now.  I’ve got a little bit of mistletoe of my own in my pocket and there’s a very inviting spot right next to Nathan on the sofa.

This is going to be very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year indeed….

****So ends this year’s holiday installment of The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.  May all your hopes and wishes come true during this festive season.  And may each and everyone one of you enjoy some of the magic of this season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan – Part II

Now, the sight of a roasted turkey, with no head, getting up and shaking a fist was weird enough.  But watching it grab one of the nearby carving knives and taking a dueler’s stance took it to a whole new level of silliness.

Even before Uncle Nathan reached for the other carving knife, the rest of us automatically took several steps backwards, away from the table.  We all knew what was coming and didn’t feel like getting caught in the middle of what was undoubtedly going to be a memorable battle.  Man and roast bird saluted each other with their weapons, followed by each taking a dueling stance.

“I knew I should’ve left you in the oven for another ten minutes, you over-sized chicken,” Uncle Nathan grunted, while parrying an attack.

The turkey, unable to speak, merely flipped him the bird in return.  Then it retreated across the table and waved its backside at him.

Looking properly offended, Uncle Nathan muttered, “Oooo… I’m going cram an onion the size of a bowling ball in you for that.”

Our intended dinner responded by making the ‘Bring it,’ gesture.

Leaping up onto the table Uncle Nathan rushed towards his opponent across the length of the table and their carving knives clashed once again.

For the next minute, man and dinner, battled across the table in a remarkably silly yet athletic duel, while managing to avoid knocking over candelabras or glasses, or even stepping on a plate or utensil.

I glanced over at Dr. Jack and my father who were both shaking there heads and trying to suppress smiles, as their wives gave each other resigned sighs.  Meanwhile Joe and Darlene, who hang out with me at school, were both enjoying the spectacle as much as I was.

Finally, my mother steps forward and puts her hands on her hips.  Then she yells, “No feet on the dinner table!”

Both bird and man freeze in mid-fight.  The two of them stare at her for a moment and then take very guilty stances and point at each other.  “He started it,” Uncle Nathan murmured, while his opponent took advantage of the moment to slap the knife out of his hand.

Immediately, our host, did a double-back flip off the table and retreated behind the nearby harp.  His opponent beat its breast in triumph and leapt after him, waving its weapon angrily.  Now began a game of cat and mouse, with Uncle Nathan using the harp as a shield.  At first the roast bird, tried chasing him around the harp, then it tried to stab at him through the strings, which proved to be a mistake.

Uncle Nathan kicked the weapon out of its grip and then pushed the harp down on top of the bird.  The strings of the harp sliced through the bird, leaving it carved in pieces on the floor.

Straightening up, Uncle Nathan looked at his handiwork and shook his head.  “Wow, the guy at the butcher shop told this bird might be a little tough, and he wasn’t kidding. Okay, who wanted white meat?” he asked turning towards us.

Naturally no one spoke.  We all just glared at him.

“Oh come on, how many times do you get to have dinner and a show?” he insisted.

At this point I saw the green mist slipping out from the remains of our ‘dinner’ and into the cuffs of his pants and knew what was really going on.  Stepping over to where the harp lay I took a close look at the ‘remains’ and saw the that the bird had actually been made of foam, covered in latex and painted to look like a roast turkey skin.

“You didn’t get a turkey did you?” I said pointedly.

Uncle Nathan bowed his head and said, “They were all sold out by the time I got back this morning.”

“This morning?” I cried in disbelief.  “Where were you?”

“I was out of town, sort of…” he began, when a loud boisterous voice, with a thick German accent, rang out from the area of the kitchen saying, “Happy Thanks-Pizza everyone!”

A moment later, a short stocky man with a graying beard and moustache appeared pushing a cart with the biggest pizza I’d ever seen on it.  He was wearing a chef’s hat and moving around so quickly, it took me a moment to recognize him.  His name was Professor Otto Hofstadter, and he was one of Uncle Nathan’s closest and oldest friends.  They’d known each other for years, according to Uncle Nathan, but there was always something about the way he said it that had made me wonder if there was more that he was not telling me.  But now was not the time to ask questions.  Dinner had arrived and everyone was starving.

My mother shook her head as we all sat down around the table and said, “Well, it might not be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, but at least we’ll all be eating well.”

“On the contrary, my dear,” the professor corrected as he and Uncle Nathan started serving huge pizza slices.  “I made sure that we used turkey sausage as part of the toppings.”

“Oh well, that makes all the difference,” said Dr. Jack as he helped pass the food around to those farthest from the pie.

A part of me wanted to ask where they’d gotten an oven big enough to cook a pizza this size, but I decided not to.  I was more interested in knowing where Uncle Nathan had been and what had kept him away all this time.  The fact that Professor Hofstadter was with us, told me that an adventure had taken place in one of those strange places Uncle Nathan has always hinted at, but has never fully explained to me.

I decided there and then that I was going to keep a close eye on those two and maybe follow them if possible and see what they got up to when the next opportunity presented itself.

*This concludes this year’s Thanksgiving tale.  I hope you all found it amusing and entertaining.  May all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and may all your travels be safe and enjoyable — Allan and Helen Krummenacker* 

Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan

*A quick note from Allan: My sincerest apologies for not doing more on the stories these past few months. I’ve been busy with learning and creating audiobooks, as well as doing book covers, reviews, and book trailers for Helen and others. However, you will be pleased to hear that Nathan’s books are among those being turned into audios as I write. One or two short stories will be appearing here soon in audio form so you can get a taste of what’s to come. Also, work has been continuing on the sequel to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which is currently being titled “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. Helen and I have a number of surprises for Nathan and you all, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a little Thanksgiving story I created 3 years ago. We hope you enjoy this tale that shows just how crazy things can get around the holidays… especially if you hang out with Nathan*

THANKSGIVING DAY 

I think everyone has memories of certain holiday gatherings that they’ll never forget.  Usually it’s because something really special or very unfortunate happened.  But how many of us can say they’ll never forget a certain Thanksgiving dinner because the host wound up fighting a duel with the intended dinner?

Well that’s what happened this year and I don’t think I’ll even need to watch the video I took of it, to help me remember.  However, I will be saving it to show any children or grandchildren I have down the road, so they can see what craziness can ensue when you let Uncle Nathan try to prepare a holiday dinner.

It all started about a week ago, right after Mom gave birth to my new baby brother Geoffrey.  I was on hand for the event, while Dad and Uncle Nathan stayed in the Waiting Room.  Mom had given strict instructions that neither of them were allowed to be on hand to watch.  In fact part of my job was to make sure they didn’t come in.

I asked Doctor Jack about it later and all he did was smirk and mumble something about a Dr. Quackenbush and associate, who had been on hand to help keep the patient relaxed.  The name sounded familiar to me so I Googled it afterwards on my laptop and found it was one of Groucho Marx’s personas from a movie called “A Day At the Races”.  Apparently, he’d played a veterinarian who also treated a rich woman as one of his patients.  Having seen Uncle Nathan’s Groucho impression I could only imagine what kind of nonsense he and Dad must’ve gotten up to inside the delivery room that day until Mom ordered the two of them out.

Anyway, right after Geoffrey arrived, Uncle Nathan offered to host Thanksgiving over at The Crypt.  “Between late night feedings and changing diapers I don’t think any of you are going to be up to shopping and prepping a big meal,” he pointed out.

Needless to say, none of us disagreed with him.  He even invited Dr. Jack and his family to join the festivities, which my favorite physician readily agreed to.  We didn’t see or hear from Uncle Nathan again for the rest of the week, which made my parents wonder if dinner was still on.  Then last night he phoned to let us know he’d been called away to help his old friend, Professor Otto Hofstadter, with a little ‘problem’ which they’d successfully resolved, and that we were still expected the next day at 5:00 PM.

Needless to say we left the house today and headed downtown.  Once we reached the building that housed The Crypt, we headed down the side alley where the stairs leading down to The Crypt awaited.  Dr. Jack and his family were just heading down the steps when we showed up and after the usual Thanksgiving greetings were exchanged, we all carefully made our way down the steps.  The door at the bottom was unlocked so we let ourselves in only to have our breaths taken away.

As usual, Uncle Nathan had really gone all out with decorating the place.  There was a huge table that could seat a couple of dozen people just on one side, in the center of the main room.  It was all decked out with candles, plates,fancy napkins, the works.  There was also a very expensive looking harp nearby, which meant we would probably be treated to some fine music afterwards.  As we all gazed around in wonder, I couldn’t believe he’d gone to so much trouble just for us, but I was glad at the same time.  “This was going to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners ever,” I breathed aloud, while everyone nodded in agreement.

Uncle Nathan appeared a moment later, wearing a white apron and a big chef’s hat.  After greeting each of us, he got everyone settled in and disappeared back to the kitchen area.  We were all excited and eager to see what he had prepared for us.  A moment later, he came back out carrying a huge glimmering silver platter.  Naturally it had a very shiny lid which was rather tall, leaving us all wondering how big a turkey he had gotten for the occasion.  However, knowing his sense of humor, I I half expected it to be a very small bird no bigger than a pigeon,  But much to my surprise and delight, when the cover was removed, there was indeed a very large bird on the platter.

After running back into the kitchen and returning with more dishes, he removed his hat and apron, and proceeded to brandish a very large fork, which he deftly sank into the turkey.  Only to have the bird jump up, remove the fork from itself and then waved an angry fist at him.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Halloween Fright – by Helen Krummenacker

*Today’s offering is from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”.  This is the first time this story has ever appeared on this blog. We have plans for other Halloween tales involving not only Nathan and friends, but other characters from “The Bridge” and “The Ship” in the near future. But for now, please sit back and enjoy a spooky little tale from Lisa and Marisa’s childhood days, which hints at a future story set in modern times down the road. Helen is the sole author of this piece and I think she did a great job capturing the fun and innocence of childhood and trick or treat.*

OCTOBER 31st, 2007

     Two giggling girls, nine years old, were getting to trick or treat on their own for the first time after solemnly swearing to their parents that they would stay together, not go into any houses, and stick to familiar streets. And Marisa and Lisa really meant it, too, when they gave their word.
     But once they’d gotten their sacks more than a quarter full, they were starting to feel like the main part of town was a little bit boring, even with decorations. Marisa’s mummy bandages were meeting with confused remarks by neighbors who were more familiar with hospital dramas than ancient Egypt, nor did Lisa’s top hat and cape read as Mr. Hyde as much as “Abe Lincoln, maybe?”, killing some of the fun of dressing up. Toddlers and their parents, surrounding them on the streets, not only slowed them down with small talk, but stifled any real delightful shiver of uncertainty.
    “I know a place,” said Lisa, “where there’s probably no one home, but it would be fun to explore.”
     “What do you mean?” asked her best friend.
    “Well, I know the owner, but he doesn’t live there. The place has been empty for years,” she told Marisa, savoring the word ‘years’, drawing it out for emphasis. “I don’t mean go in, but there’s woods and a little cemetery–”
     “I am NOT going to a cemetery on Halloween night! The place sounds creepy.”
     “That’s what makes it fun!”
     Marisa grinned quickly, thinking of all the spooky old films she loved. “Yeah.” She thought about it. “How about we get our bikes and go there, but we stay in sight of the road when we’re there and don’t stay too long.”
     Lisa nodded. “Sounds smart. But it’s really not going to be too scary. I mean, sometimes things that seem scary at first turn out not to be.” She couldn’t really explain her Uncle Nathan, but it didn’t seem like anything associated with him could turn out bad. After all, he was a vampire… and the sweetest grown-up she knew.
    Marisa was enjoying the chill of the air on her face. “It’s beautiful out here.” The moon was overhead, the trees rustled mysteriously, and the scent of pine, cedar, and birch tinged the breeze. “I thought there were a bunch of old mines on this side of town, though. It’s pretty hilly out here.”
     “Yeah, I think there were some old ones.” Lisa tried to remember what Nathan had told her. “They used to have a small one on the estate we’re going to, that just took out coal to sell in town in the old days. People used it in their stoves. It closed for a while, but then it was opened during World War II by government order, for industry.”
     “How do you know this stuff?”
    “I told you, I know the owner. He’s a family friend, basically. And he’s the last of his family, so sometimes he gets, what’s the word… nostalgic.”
     They saved their breath to pedal their way up a long uphill stretch. At the top, Lisa stopped to let Marisa catch up. She pointed, “See, you can see the house past the field. I guess they kept this area cleared.”
     “Someone’s got sheep grazing there,” noted Marisa. “Sheep aren’t very scary.”

      “Does that mean you want to see the cemetery?”

    “No! … Maybe.” They nudged each other, shoulder to shoulder, before taking off down the hill towards the big old house that stood under the moonlight, darker patches where the pale paint had flaked off, vines growing onto the expansive porch, trees beyond with branches scant of leaves, many already lost to the aging fall. It began to feel quite spooky again as they drew closer to see more detail. Faded velvet curtains could be seen through dirty windows. The wind in the trees made suggestive rustling sounds. The creak of their own pedaling could be footsteps on an old, loose floorboard from the rooms above. The girls got off their bikes as they reached a grass-overgrown gravel path leading around the house and began to walk the path, pushing their bicycles by the handlebars, trying not to let the gravel crunch too much under their feet.
     It’s not that I’m scared, Lisa told herself. It’s just that it doesn’t seem right to be noisy here. Like being in a library or a museum. It was a matter of respect.
    Something cold and clammy touched the back of her neck and she squealed before she could think.
     “What is it?!” Marisa whispered, worried.
     “A drop of cold water. It fell off the eaves.”
     Indeed, the cool night air was producing condensation and the trees and overhangs slowly, almost silently, loosed accumulated moisture without sparing any thought for the nerves of passers by. “We’re being ridiculous,” Marisa said a little louder. “Thinking drops are a clammy finger or that the gravel is tiny bones crunching under our feet. It’s just an old farm no one lives in anymore. We drive past places like this all the time.”
    “Not just like this,” Lisa said defensively. “There was a terrible tragedy here.” She wondered briefly about Marisa’s mention of the gravel sounding like crunching bones. Someone was getting carried away by their imagination, and that someone was not her. “During the Civil War, you know West Virginia and Virginia were on different sides. And the Virginians were very angry about it. There was this point during the war when a mob crossed the border and they killed a lot of people here.”
     “I did not want to know that.”
     Lisa realized the fun was starting to go out of this for Marisa. “It’s okay. It happened so long ago. And… it’s not like ghosts are real.” There, she’d said it. It might not be a very Halloween thing to say, but she didn’t want her friend to be seriously frightened.
   They stood there beside the empty old house in silence for a moment, looking at each other, wondering what they really believed about any of these things. They were not that far from home, really. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with being here for a picnic on a bright, sunny day. Maybe they were only really afraid because they were breaking the rules. Maybe they only got goosebumps because the night was a little damp and the breeze was making them cold.
    Or maybe they weren’t quite sure that things didn’t go bump in the night. The breeze, which had joined them in stillness, rose up again, and a small, thin voice was carried with it. “Where is everyone?” It was a girl’s voice, sounding a little younger than they were, or perhaps she just sounded even younger because it was high with a plaintive note.
    “Where is everyone?” The voice said again, with a slightly different inflection. Lisa and Marisa opened their mouths and screamed in unison. They climbed back onto their bicycles and got back onto the road. They had pedaled at least a tenth of a mile before they realized they had headed the wrong direction, still traveling away from the town. Now, beyond the house, the trees were the scraggly remains of old orchards, interspersed with volunteer trees grown wild from seeds left by birds or squirrels. Lisa signaled for Marisa to stop.
    “Are you okay?” they asked each other at the same time, then laughed a little, still nervous but feeling reassured by friendship.
    “I’m okay,” Marisa said, “but she sure made a monkey out of you!” They laughed again.
    “We’re both fine,” Lisa said bravely. “I mean, so I was wrong about no ghosts, but she was a kid, like us. Just a kid…” she sounded sad now, because she thought she might know who the girl had been. A girl who had died from illness, months before the massacre. But then, why would she be looking for her family?
    “Hey,” Marisa said as she saw tufts of grass sticking through breaks in the thin asphalt, “I think the main road turned and we missed it. This doesn’t look right.”
    Lisa thought the same thing, noting that the hill rising to their right was just off the shoulder of the single lane, instead of beyond beech trees. “I guess we ended up on the road they used during the war when they were moving out coal.”
    “You like history a lot, don’t you?”
    “I like knowing why things happened. Roads don’t build themselves, and they don’t start falling apart if people want to use them still.” She had her mouth open to continue, but a weird deep rumble came from the ground to the right, ahead of them. “I don’t know what that is,” she said.

    Some muffled booming sounds followed. “It’s real,” Marisa said. “If there’s a mine here, it sounds like it could be ready to collapse.” They craned their heads to look down a shallow curve of road, to where the mine main shaft entrance was. An old metal elevator stood there, dim in the dark, before suddenly being lit from below with an orange glare. A plume of black smoke rose. There was another rumble.

    “Fire!” They agreed. Marisa was the first back on her bike this time. “We need to go back and tell someone!”
    They rode as fast as they could, legs getting sore. It wasn’t like the panic when the ghostly voice had spooked them. Rather, they had a purpose, because the mine should be abandoned, but what if some homeless people were using it for shelter, or some teens had set up a makeshift haunted house. There had to be a reason that the mine had suddenly caught fire, and it could be that someone careless had lit a candle or something down there, forgetting that gasses or coal dust could catch fire easily.
    When they got into town, Lisa’s parents were nearest, which was good because they knew the way. The girls were all for calling out the fire department right away, but the town was very small, so Mr. and Mrs. Weston insisted on going to check on the fire for themselves. “It might have just been something like a will-o-the-wisp near the surface,” Lisa’s dad said as he bundled them into the car. “Or a prank from some teens. There’s likely to be enough trouble-making tonight, so we don’t want to draw in emergency services if it isn’t necessary.”
    Much to the confusion of the girls, when they arrived at the mine, the light had gone out. Mr. Weston killed the car engine and they sat in silence for more than a minute to be sure there were no strange rumbles or percussive noises. “What,” said Mrs. Weston at last, “made you think this would be funny? You did say you’d stick to familiar streets.”
    “Technically,” Lisa ventured, “the main road out of town isn’t unfamiliar. I mean, we’ve been out this way before. And we only came this way by accident, because the ghost scared us so bad I just fled without paying attention to where. It wasn’t Marisa’s fault, either; she was following me because I knew the way and had glowsticks on.”
    “Now it’s ghosts?” said her dad.
   They knew then that further attempts to explain would just dig them deeper into trouble. The Westons took Marisa home in their car, and Mr. Weston had a word with her father while she was told to go get ready for bed.
    The next day was a school day (another reason it had been a bad idea to go off looking for adventure instead of sticking to the plan to trick or treat), and Lisa and Marisa were even more eager to get together and talk than ever. First, they wanted to compare memories of the night before. Had they heard the same thing from the ghostly voice? Did they both see the smoke, a pillar of it, filling the mine entrance and briefly obscuring the fire? Had they both still seen a ruddy glow, even through the smoke?
    They wished they could go back out there by day and check to see if there was fresh soot or something to verify their story. But that was impossible. Marisa’s bike was still on Lisa’s lawn, propped against a tree, and they were both grounded at least until the weekend. Furthermore, there would be no trick or treating for them next year.
    “Dad says,” Marisa told Lisa, “that he’s going to personally supervise me next year, and I’m not going anywhere. He says it’s going to be a black and white horror movie marathon for us.”
    “My folks,” Lisa said grimly, “won’t let me go anywhere unless there’s going to be an adult present at all times. And it has to be one they know.” She wondered if Uncle Nathan would come if she asked him to. But he moved around a lot so she didn’t know how to reach him.
     “Good thing,” said Marisa, with a sly smile, “that they know my dad.”
     “Oh?”
     “Because he was only a little mad, and he says we can have a sleepover.”
     This time, their unison scream was a happy one, even if it made the whole cafeteria stare.

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

****Re-Released the first YA book of the Para-Earth Series****

A 5-STAR tale just in time for the creepy holiday season!

Revised TVB CH Border Cover

Ever since her father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, 17 y. o. Marisa has had nightmares about the disease taking the form of a vampire, slowly killing him. She can no longer stand movies or books involving even ‘good guy’ vampires, much less any of the old horror movies she used to watch with him. She even stopped hanging out with her best friend Lisa who got into Goth clothing and make-up, even though Lisa has been trying to be there for her this whole time.

But all that is about to change with the arrival of young and handsome Nathan, a family friend Lisa grew up calling Uncle. Not only does his arrival set both girl’s hearts beating, but it gives them a chance to renew the friendship both have sorely missed.

However, there’s more to Nathan than Marisa realizes. Lisa knows he is a vampyre-like being, the very thing Marisa detests. Yet he may also be the only hope for Marisa’s father, as well as the entire town. For unknown to all, a truly horrific being from the Para-Earth where Nathan was originally “altered” has entered their reality. And now he is the only one who can stop it.

Available now in paperback and ALL e-book platforms:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDO8SLO/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Nook:

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

AmazonUK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MDO8SLO

AmazonCA:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01MDO8SLO

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/647499

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-vampyre-blogs-coming-home

****NOTE: Coming Soon in audiobook form too****

 

****”The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” the 1st YA Book In The Para-Earth Series Is Coming October 1st****

Revised TVB CH Border Cover

Technically  a re-release, but “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” is returning to online bookstores everywhere with a whole new look. As mentioned in previous posts, many told me that the book was more suited to Young Adult audiences since both 17 y. o. Lisa and Marisa do the majority of the storytelling. Furthermore, we didn’t want to lose all the reviews the book had already garnered previously.

So we gave the book an overhaul with a brand new cover and synopsis. You’ve seen the cover above, now for the synopsis…

Ever since her father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, Marisa has had nightmares about the disease taking the form of a vampire, slowly killing him. She can no longer stand movies or books involving even ‘good guy’ vampires, much less any of the old horror movies she used to watch with him. She even stopped hanging out with her best friend Lisa who got into Goth clothing and make-up, even though Lisa has been trying to be there for her this whole time. 

But all that is about to change with the arrival of young and handsome Nathan, a family friend Lisa grew up calling Uncle. Not only does his arrival set both girl’s hearts beating, but it gives them a chance to renew the friendship both have sorely missed. 

However, there’s more to Nathan than Marisa realizes. Lisa knows he is a vampyre-like being. He may also be the one thing both the girls and the town needs most. For a true horror from the Para-Earth here Nathan was altered has entered this reality. And he is the only one who can stop it. 

A ripping 4 and 5-star vampire story just in time for the creepy holiday season. It’s partner “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” will also become part of our YA line of books.

Now some might be wondering if this means none of these characters will be appearing in future books that are not YA. The answer is of course they’ll be showing up. Nathan is already scheduled to make an appearance in the “The Door” which is sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”. He will be accompanied by Lisa and Marisa in “The Door” and possibly in the big cross-over “Harlequin House” which will pit all these characters against some consider the most haunted house on the planet.

But never fear, Nathan and the young ladies have other adventures looming of their own such as “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” which will pit them all against a ruthless developer who knows Nathan’s secret and how to deal with him. Family bonds, betrayal, faithful friends, and extended family will be tested as Nathan and company fight to not only save his family homestead, but Marisa’s father, as well as their town, their state. and possibly the world.

Also, audiobook versions of Nathan and company’s adventures are under way as you read these words.

In short, we got a lot happening on this and other fronts so please help spread the word, and also stay tuned as new stories are coming your way on this blog.

We thank you all for your patience and support. Links to all the new online stores will be posted soon as these books will now be available not only through Amazon but Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and other online outlets.

So until next time, take care and happy reading everyone!

New Beginnings For “The Vampyre Blogs” Side of Our Para-Earths Series…

Okay folks, Nathan here to tell you all about some new beginnings for me and my friends… oh and our authors too.

I know things have been on the quiet side over here for a while now, but a lot has been going on behind the scenes. As you all know, Allan and Helen have been experimenting with audio for some time now. But after a lot of discussions and even more rehearsals and test-runs they’ve decided Allan will be the one to who will be bringing all our stories to audiobooks. This project has involved a huge learning curve for Allan which has taken up a great deal of his time, hence things being quiet over here.  Allan’s a bit of a perfectionist and has been going to great lengths to find voices for everyone who will be appearing in the audios. But it seems he’s nailed everyone down starting with me, who’s voice you heard in “Wolves and the Northern Lights” (which was shared in the last entry). If you missed it, here’s the link again so you can hear what I’ll be sounding like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxg1nIibXI

Audio Star

He’s already finalized different voices for Otto, Brian, Richard (Low-Man), Dr. Jack, Lisa, Marisa, Isabella, and the rest of the cast from both “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time”. Now begins the full-scale effort to bring all of us to life in audio. Mind you, Allan’s been going through one heck of a learning curve and is currently sharing all he learned over on our sister blog “The Musings of Two Creative Minds” where he and Helen talk about the writing and creative process. If you’re interested in seeing what he’s shared so far here are the first three installments:

Part I: https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/2019/07/adventures-in-audio-recording.html

Part II: https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/2019/08/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-ii.html

Part III: https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/2019/08/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-iii.html

NOTE: This particular series of blog entries about doing audio is still ongoing and more installments are on the way. So if you find yourself really enjoying those first three entries you might want to sign-up to be notified by e-mail when a new entry gets posted.

Now, besides working on bringing us all to life in audio, Allan has also been working on a collaborative story that does not involve the Para-Earth Series, with an old high school friend Mr. Richard Caminiti.

Rich

The two have just about finished the first draft of a five-year book called “The Pass” which also involves vampires, also set in the 1860’s but on the west coast. And the vampires involved are not like me or your traditional European types like Count Dracula. No, their characters are dealing with Chiangshi, vampires from China, more commonly known as the Hopping Vampire. And boy have Allan and Richard got some surprising twists and turns waiting for you all. It’s taken them this long to do write the story for several reasons:

      1 – They’ve been writing long-distance. Richard is on the east coast in North Carolina and Allan is on the west coast in California.

      2 – They’ve been doing a lot of Skyping over the past 5 years to brainstorm ideas, as well as give each other input on new directions the story kept taking.

     3 – Life got in the way a lot. For instance, Allan was still attending college full-time when they started and both have had health issues to contend with. Plus, Allan and Helen had to move twice during this period.

      4 – Allan was working with Helen on me and my friends and our stories.

    5 – Helen started a new solo-writing project called the “Forever Detective Series”. (Don’t panic, she’s not abandoning us or Allan, she’s still working on us with him). But Allan’s been helping her with that series as well, doing book covers and acting as her sounding board for ideas. But this too has taken up a fair amount of time and energies for both him and her.

Forever's Too Long Cover.jpg

And speaking of the Forever Detective Series, Helen’s first book came out just a couple of months ago and is available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and many other outlets in both paperback and e-book form. The story involves a 1940’s detective getting hired by Interpol to help locate some stolen Russian art. As the story progresses our hero Raphael Jones will find himself discovering that magic and the supernatural do exist and his world will never be the same again. If you’d like to learn more here’s a little book trailer Allan and Helen put together (which also took up a fair amount of time and experience on the old learning curve). You’ll also find links to the various book sites to get your own copy of this brilliant new series, which Helen will be adding a second book to in late November/early December of this year. So please check it out, she’s done a brilliant job with blending 1940’s Film Noir with the Supernatural:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc

hair rumple (3)

So as you can see, Allan and Helen have been QUITE busy ever since this year began. Which is why they haven’t been doing nearly as much updates here as they really would have liked to do. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been neglecting me or my friends. Stories have been quietly under way this whole time. A whole second anthology has been taking shape, again with stories from this blog as well as brand new untold tales.

Furthermore, Allan and Helen have been working on “The Door” which involves my old flame Police Sergeant Veronica Ross, her new fiancee Alex Hill (the lucky dog), my old friend Jason Cloudfoot’s niece Julie (who I helped rescue from a snowstorm when she was only 9 years old), and a few other people of my acquaintance. Why I’m bringing this book up is because I will be making several appearances in flashbacks, as well as me, Lisa and Marisa actually showing up at the end of that upcoming novel which will launch a whole new direction in the Para-Earth Series. For that point will actually bring all of us and the characters from “The Bridge”, “The Ship” and “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” into a full-blown crossover as we take on the most haunted house in America, the legendary Harlequin House. It is within the walls of that terrifying place where people say “The only ones who walk those halls are the dead…”

At the same time, Allan and Helen have already gotten me and my friends’ next full-length novel “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” already under way as well.

But first, my friends and I need to be re-introduced to a whole new set of readers. A little while back, Allan explained that after talking with readers that “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” would be more at home under the YA (Young Adult) label since most of the story is told from Lisa and Marisa’s point of view. So, he’s been very busy working on making that happen as well. Including,  going as far as creating a whole new cover for the book featuring the girls.

Revised TVB CH Border Cover

He and Helen have also created a new backcover as well…

Ever since her father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, Marisa has had nightmares about the disease taking the form of a vampire, slowly killing him. She can no longer stand movies or books involving even ‘good guy’ vampires, much less any of the old horror movies she used to watch with him. She even stopped hanging out with her best friend Lisa who got into Goth clothing and make-up, even though Lisa has been trying to be there for her this whole time.

But all that is about to change with the arrival of young and handsome Nathan, a family friend Lisa grew up calling Uncle. Not only does his arrival set both girl’s hearts beating, but it gives them a chance to renew the friendship both have sorely missed.  

However, there’s more to Nathan than Marisa realizes. Lisa knows he is a vampyre-like being, the very thing Marisa detests. Yet he may also be the only hope for Marisa’s father, as well as the entire town. For unknown to all, a truly horrific being from the Para-Earth where Nathan was originally “altered” has entered their reality. And now he is the only one who can stop it.

The re-release of the book will be taking place in just a few weeks on October 1st. And this time we will be available everywhere, not just on Amazon (although you’ll still be able to find us there as well). Though we do ask all of you to please help spread the word. We’re very excited to meet new readers and continue our adventures because there are a LOT of  them to come.

So that about brings you all up to speed. Clearly, there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes that Allan and Helen have not been talking about. But, as you can see, time has not been a luxury for them, which is why I felt it necessary to tell you myself.

Thanks again for all your patience and stay tuned, because as I already said, there is a lot more coming. Allan will be sharing some more samples of his audio work with you all and if everything goes well the first audiobook(s) will be out in time for this Christmas so stay tuned. We’re all very excited for you to hear from us personally as our adventures continue.

Until the next time I hijack this blog, take care.

Yours Respectfully,

Nathaniel Eoghan Steward

figure by a stream

Our First Short Audio Story Is Live…

And so it begins, dear friends. Here is my first full-scale attempt at doing an audio recording of one of the short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”.

*NOTE: Do not click on this image, link to audio is just below it*

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxg1nIibXI&t=32s

The purpose of doing this short story is of course to start preparing for turning the entire anthology, as well as it’s predecessor “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” into full-length audiobooks. Helen and I will also be turning her new solo novel “Forever’s Too Long” (another vampire tale, set in 1947 NYC) into an audiobook as well.

For some time many readers and friends have been urging me to try my hand at doing audiobooks saying I have a good voice for reading aloud. Helen readily agreed as I have spent many evenings reading aloud to her from books we both wanted to read at the same time, and this seemed to be the simplest solution.

However, I was completely unsure how one even began to make an audiobook. I do not consider myself all that well versed in technology. Furthermore, until the last couple of years, our finances were very tight so trying to rent time at a professional recording studio. Plus, I would then have to pay someone to do all the technical cleanup of the recordings to make them presentable for Audible, over on Amazon.

But after having helped create the trailer for Helen’s book “Forever’s Too Long” (which I have shared here before but in case you missed it here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc

I found my confidence increasing in my vocal skills. The responses to the trailer and the praise I received at her release party where I did some live reading in the voice of her main character, was the final nudge I needed. From there I downloaded Audacity (the program Audible uses for audiobook submissions) and did some serious reading up on audio recording. I also watched a number of YouTube videos which taught me how to get the best sound quality while recording inside our own home, instead of renting space at a studio. I also invested in some equipment…

I won’t go into all the technical details of how I made the recording here, because I’m covering that topic in a series of entries over on our blog about writing at:

https://www.musingsoftwocreativeminds.com/

There will be more audios coming to this site in the near future for your enjoyment, leading up to the release of the complete anthology on Audible. When that date will be, I do not know as I still have a lot of recording to do. However, we will keep you all apprised of our progress. In the meantime, please enjoy the audio provided above and know that this blog will still be sharing brand new tales about Nathan and his friends as usual.

I also want to let you know that progress is being made on “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. My main regret is that it’s taken so long, but there have been health and family issues over the past year that slowed things down on that front. But the book is still under way and will see the light of day. Hopefully, late next year.

In the meantime, besides the audios, I am working on a new cover for “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” as it will be getting a new home under the Young Adult section over on Amazon. It will also be getting released to Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook form), PDF and other formats later this year. So, as you can see, we got a lot happening with Nathan and company, and there are many more adventures and stories to tell, so please stay tuned.

Until next time, happy reading (and listening) dear friends…

Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part V

     Meanwhile, Nadine stared into her now empty cup, apparently without realizing it. Something was still weighing on her mind. Glancing down I saw my cup was empty as well. “I could use a refill, how about you?” I asked.

     Nadine blinked. “Huh… oh, more hot chocolate? That sounds good.”

     I started to get up, but she got to her feet first saying, “I’ll get it. You take it easy. I’m keeping you up, I can at least play hostess.”

     For a moment I was going to remind her that my little guy was really the one who’d kept me up already, but I held my tongue. I was starting to feel a bit tired, but I wanted to know what she hadn’t told me yet. Whatever it was, it had troubled her up something fierce, and that bothered me.

     I guess it must’ve shown in my face because I saw the look of worry in my friend’s eyes as she served up the hot chocolate.

 

     “Are you getting tired?” she asked gently. “I know I’ve been keeping you up even later than your son.”

    “I’m all right,” I smiled, “But I am worried about you. When you came in tonight, you looked ‘troubled’ more so than if you’d simply had to put up with wolf-whistles and catcalls.”

      She nodded and sat down again. “I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around what I saw… and what I almost did.”

     The tone in her voice as she spoke those last few words, sent a chill down my spine.

     “The evening started out as usual. I went out to dinner by myself and got the usual questions about why someone so beautiful was on her own. Was I waiting for someone? Would I like some company? Mind you I almost said yes once, but thought better of it.”

     That piqued my curiosity. “Oh? Was he that good looking?”

     “Oh, yeah,” she nodded with a wistful look, “She was.”

     “Ooo… attracting girls now are we? You should have taken her up on it, you might’ve had a good time,” I smiled.

     “I kind of wish I had,” Nadine sighed and fell silent.

     At that point I knew I was getting to the heart of whatever happened that upset her so much. A part of me didn’t want to push things any farther, but something told me she needed to get it out of her system. So I reached across and took one of her hands saying, “Hey, I’m here for you, tell me what happened. Please? I can’t stand sitting here watching as it eats at you.”

     That earned me a small but uneasy smile. “Are you sure you want to hear about it? It wasn’t one of my better moments.”

     “How so?” I asked.

     “I think… I know, I came pretty close to breaking every bone in some asshole’s fucking body.”

     I almost asked if she was serious, but I already knew she meant every word of it. Finally, I said, “Tell me what happened.”

          She nodded. “After dinner I decided to go catch the new all-female Ghostbusters movie, which was great, by the way. I loved it. Totally hilarious, and Chris Hemsworth was a riot. The man is great at comedy, let me tell you. Anyway, I was just coming out of the theater when I spotted Lisa and Marisa standing in line to get tickets and quickly did a U-turn. Unfortunately, they’d already spotted me and started calling out to me.”

     “Busted!” I teased, fearing she was going off on a tangent. As it turned out, she wasn’t.

     Meanwhile she sighed, “Yeah, I was and I knew it. Turning around, I smiled and started coming towards them when I spotted a girl I knew Marisa wasn’t too thrilled about standing just a few people behind them. She was rolling her eyes in their direction, not that they could see, and I quickened my pace in the hopes of preventing any trouble. But as I did so, some guy a couple of years older than her stopped and said something to her, which she totally ignored. Next thing I know…” here she paused and shook her head.

     “He what? Did he grab her or something?”

   “He punched her in the face,” Nadine snapped, while balling her own hands into fists. “No warning,  no raised voice, he just went ahead and belted her in front of everyone.”

      Even I had not been prepared for that. I was expecting an argument or the guy grabbing her by the arm. But not this.

     Nadine was starting to shake with anger as she continued, “And that wasn’t the worst part. I heard him saying she deserved it. You see he’d complimented her looks and she didn’t even so much as smile or say thank you.”

     I barely kept myself from yelling “Say what?” out loud and waking up my little guy. But I managed it somehow, and just hissed the words instead.

    “Yeah,” Nadine nodded taking a deep breath before continuing. “He’d punched her for ‘disrespecting’ him. At that point I didn’t care if anyone saw or not, I used my speed and got between them. My first instinct was to grab his hand as he started to try and take another swing at her. But I knew if I did, not only would I catch it, but I would start squeezing.”

     “Squeezing?” I repeated. That didn’t sound all that bad.

     “As in I wasn’t going to stop until every bone in that hand was broken, along with the rest of his arm,” she replied quietly.

     “What stopped you?” I asked, feeling a little sick at what I was hearing.

     Nadine looked at me and said, “The expression on your face, it’s the same one I saw on both Marisa and Lisa’s. If they hadn’t been there…” she shook herself. “Anyway, I caught his next punch and went all Bruce Lee on his ass instead. But even as I did, a part of me still wanted to hurt him a whole lot worse than I did. The resentment I felt from all the crude catcalling, ass slaps, and gropings was screaming for me to not only beat his ass, but rip his throat out. Literally.”

     “But you didn’t,” I pointed out. “I know you. You didn’t let it get that far.”

     “Barely,” she sighed.

     “Then what happened?” I asked.

     “I looked up and saw Marisa and Lisa were helping the girl who’d been hit. It turned out to be Diane, the one who was pissed at Marisa for not choosing her to be the new head cheerleader. She was looking awfully grateful for their help as well as mine. As for the asshat, a couple of his buddies had apparently started to try and pull me off him. Only the rest of the crowd, most of them women had blocked them. And then the police showed up. Of course, the jerk’s friends started giving them a bullshit story.”

     “Naturally,” I nodded.

     “So I released some mist and got them singing like canaries about how their friend started all the trouble by assaulting Diane. Of course, I got the creep to confess as well and that was all the police needed to take his ass away.”

     “He’s not going to forget,” I told her.

     Nadine smiled, “I made sure of that. You see I gave him and his buddies a special suggestion. One that will keep all of them from disrespecting any woman ever again.”

     “Good for you,” I smiled, but her face was still troubled. “What?”

     “I really wanted to hurt that guy,” she murmured.

     “But you didn’t,” I assured her. “You’re better than that and them.”
“I know, but I came so close…”

    “Welcome to the human race,” I cut in. “With all the powers you have, you’re still a person. A good one at that. Don’t ever change.”

    That made her smile. “Thanks. But, I have to know. Everything I’ve experienced lately as a woman, is it always like that?”

     “Not always, but more often than it should be,” I told her honestly. Then I eyed her curiously and asked, “Are you thinking about going back to just being a guy?”

     She shook her head. “No. Isabella’s growing. She’ll need someone to help her navigate this world. It’s very different than the one she remembers.”

     “She’ll have me, Lisa and Penny,” I pointed out.

     “Thanks,” she smiled, “But I think ‘Nadine’ will be hanging out with you all from time to time as well. Someone needs to watch all your backs as well sometimes. Girls have to stick together.”

     “Indeed we do,” I smiled. As if on cue, I heard my little guy begin fussing again. “And there goes the rest of my night,” I said standing up.

     But once again my friend beat me to the door saying, “No, you and Richard get some sleep. I’ll take care of him. He’ll need to get used to seeing Aunt Nadine hanging around every so often. And I’m more of a night owl than the rest of you.”

     I was too tired to argue and headed back to bed. It’s morning now and sure enough both my guys got a good night sleep after all. Nathan was back and thanked me for the hot chocolate and the talk. I thanked him for being willing to walk a mile (and them some) in high-heeled shoes.