Nathan Speaks: About the Authors, Christmas and the Future…

Merry Christmas Eve and a Happy Hannukah (which also begins tonight) to all our friends…  

For the past few months the entries here have been erratic and I want you all to know how sorry our authors (Allan and Helen) are for these issues.  However, life has gotten in the way in many forms during this time.  First, up until November, Allan was still taking full-time classes at CSU Monterey Bay and these were very demanding classes.  They ate up a lot of his time and his mental energies.  
 
Then in early November he received a job offer with the County of Santa Cruz in their Assessor’s office.  As you all can imagine getting settled into a new job and learning all the ropes is no easy task and very consuming of both time and energies (especially mental energies).  However, the biggest obstacle since he started work has been the fact that his commute takes anywhere from 1 – 1 1/2 hours one way, on any given day.  He rises at 5:30AM and does not get back until 6-6:30 PM, which leaves him little time to spend with Helen, who has been dealing with a major FLARE up of her Fibromyalgia.  Naturally, he has been trying to care for her as best he can when he’s available.  
 
However, these are not the only obstacles the two of them have had to deal with.  In addition to preparing for the holidays and guests, they have also been looking for a new place to live.  Until now, they have lived in subsidized housing at CSU Monterey Bay, but that is only available to students who are full-time!  Naturally, Allan can no longer be a full-time student while working full-time and caring for an unwell spouse.  So they are hunting for a new place they can afford during the holidays (not easy let me tell you).  But as they do so, they are aiming to cut down his commute considerably to give them more time together as well as time to write.
 
Naturally, this has left both of them with very little time to be creative.  Hence, the lack of updates or even a Christmas-themed tale.  Two stories were well under way, but are on the back-burner until a new place has been found for them to reside and then get moved and settled in.  So please bear with them as they try to get their lives back in order.
Finally, know that the stories and more novels about me, Lisa, Marisa, Otto and our other friends in the Para-Earth Book Series, are on the way.  The hopes are for two books to be released in 2017.  The first will be “The Door” which is a sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  In December an anthology of some of the stories that have appeared on this blog over the last 2 years will be released.  The anthology will also include several brand new short stories that have never been seen before.
During 2017, work on the 2nd “Vampyre Blogs” novels will be fully under way as well, leading to an anticipated 2018 release around Thanksgiving/Christmas.  I know that’s a long way off, which is why more adventures will continue to appear on this blog, in addition to the anthology for next December.
I can also tell you cross-over stories involving myself, Lisa, Marisa, and Otto, as well as characters from the other 3 novels (“The Bridge”, “The Ship”, and “The Door”) are in the works as well.  One or two of those tales will appear in the anthology, as well as novellas, and full-length novels.  So please be patient and hang in there.  Allan and Helen are very eager to get back to their writing and bring you more adventures to tantalize and thrill you all.
In the meantime, we and they wish you all a wonderful holiday season and as a little bonus.  For those who had not realized, in addition to writing our stories, Allan is an accomplished artist and the artwork that graces each of the Para-Earth novels has been done by him.  So here I share some of his more holiday-based art.  We hope you enjoy these works and have a wonderful and magical holiday season:
First we have a European Father Christmas, he based on several different figurines of Santa Claus he found in antique shops:

Next we have a Robin on a Yule Log.  Robins are associated with Christmas quite heavily over in the United Kingdom, but for this piece. However, Allan chose an American style Robin (which is different from those in the England where his mother was born and raised), blending the tradition between the two countries.

And finally, we have this little piece which he titled “It Was Supposed To Be A Still Life”.  This is true because, he had planned on doing a pastel piece of the presents and village he and Helen had set up beneath their tree one year.  Of course, after getting things just right, he went to fetch his art pad and soft pastels and came back to a scene much like you see here.  However, rather than getting angry and trying to set things up again, he simply sat down and got to work on the piece saying, “Hey, it’s Christmas for kitties too…”

 *Note: the coloring of the cat is based on his late father’s cat Spikette, rather than his own feline mistress Avalon who was jet black and had been the one underneath the tree.  Originally he started out using Avalon’s ebony coat, only to find it was too distracting to the rest of the piece, so he kept her attitude and behavior while substituting Spikette’s colors for a more balanced piece.  He finds great comfort in having done this since both kitties are in Heaven now, although their spirits seem to occasionally visit and cause mischief around the house when one least expects it.

That’s all for now.  Enjoy the holidays and stay safe everyone.  If you must travel, may your journey be swift and fun, without worry or fear.  And we will see you all in the coming year.

Love,

Nathan, Lisa, Otto, Marisa, the rest of our extended family and of course our creators Allan and Helen Krummenacker

A Note From The Author Plus A New Entry From Nathaniel’s Private E-Journal…

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From the author: I hope everyone enjoyed the first, of what I hope will be many holiday tales shared around Christmastime.  It was supposed to be just a quickie short-story that I would put out on Smashwords as a free download for all, but obviously it grew as I continued to write.  Also, time was getting away from me due to my workload at my college.

So I wound up releasing the story in pieces here on my blog and over the course of days it continued to grow and grow.  In the end I wound up with not a short-story as planned but a novelette (a story between 7,000 and 20,000 words in length).  Not quite long enough to be a novella, but much larger than short-story.    Also due to the time-crunch what I posted here was basically a first draft, which would explain any editing errors some of you might have noticed as you read.

However, I’m still not quite done with the story.  I’m going to release it as a small novelette this coming Christmas.  It will basically be the same story that you read, but there will be an epilogue added to the end as well as original pen and ink illustrations created by me.  For those who don’t know, I’m also an artist and have done the covers for my other novels that have already been published.  I’m aiming for pen and ink in the hopes that it will be easier to upload into e-book form as well as in print.  Yes, I intend to make a small paperback version for those who’d like to hold the book in their hands if at all possible.  I may also try using charcoal (which would simply be black and white, along with shades of grey).   Ideally, I’d use my favorite medium soft pastel, but I wouldn’t be able to guarantee the quality of the colors in the printed form or on the computer.  However, I will be looking into it.  If anyone else out there has had some experience in color artwork in an e-book or in print, please tell us about it in the comment section below.

Now as I’ve told you all before, Nathan’s first novel-length story will be coming out around either October or December of this year (2015).  Of course, I will have a number of new blog and e-journal entries for him and the other characters to post here.  I’ll also be releasing another novel before then titled “The Door”, which will be the third in my Para-Earth Series.  It will star several of the characters you already met in my holiday novelette, (Sergeant Veronica Ross, a grown-up Julie, and Police Chief Roy Petersen).  Alas Jason will not appear having joined his ancestors, but not before he passed the mantle of shaman on his niece.  If you’d like to read how this all happened, you can check out “The Bridge” and its sequel “The Ship”:

NOTE: Both e-books are just $1.49 each for the next two weeks.  After that, the price will got back up to $2.99 a piece.  You can also sample the first 30 pages of each story for free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.  Just click on the title and start reading.  I’m providing the links right here:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/1383

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00B1W8TEU

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/allan-krummenacker

With all that said, I hope to see more and more of you here as I supply you with more short tales of Nathaniel and his friends.  I plan to introduce more characters here as the year goes on, so keep reading and spread the word about this site.  Happy New Year to you all, as I step aside and let Nathaniel take the stage…

Nathaniel’s Private E-Journal, January 1st, 2005

12:10 AM
 

 
 

I’m standing on a deck overlooking the great wide Pacific Ocean.  Another year has passed but I am not alone.  I am surrounded by members of my extended family located in Aptos, California.  Although that’s not where I am at this moment.  We’re standing near the famed Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk having just watched a fabulous fireworks display out on the water.

The Cloudfoots have been part of my life since 1999 when I first met Jason, the patriarch of these wonderful people.  As their name implies, they are of Native American descent, specifically they are Seneca one of the five original tribes that formed the Iroquois Confederacy.

Together, Jason and I, along with Otto located his missing niece Julie who had run away from home just two days before Christmas.  The moment Jason and I locked eyes, I knew there was something different about him and I was right.  He was a shaman, one who knew about the Para-Earths, as Otto has named those alternate realities of this world.  Jason also knew right away I’d been to one and had come back changed, but he also knew I was still a good man and our friendship formed.

He’s here with me tonight enjoying the love and joy of his children and grandchildren.  Jason lost his wife two years ago, for which I was very sorry.  She had been a wonderful woman, warm and caring.  I’d spent that New Year’s Eve with him, to make sure he did not face it alone.  Not that I had much reason to worry.  Julie and her parents were there as well.  It was the first time I’d seen her in 1999 and my how she’d grown.  From the pudgy little girl I’d help locate, she was now slightly taller than me and still growing.  She also had filled out in more ways than one, especially in the muscle department.  I feel sorry for any boy who pissed her off.  Not that she seems very interested in them.  A part of me suspects her yearnings lie elsewhere.  I just hope I never have to compete with her for a date.

Not that such a thing is likely.  I’ve kept to myself more since Veronica and I parted company three years ago.  I’ve found myself thinking about her a lot tonight.  Probably it’s because of all the police officers watching over tonight’s festivities.  There was one female officer in particular standing near her patrol car that caught my eye.  She looked nothing like Veronica, but the way the officer stood there reminded me so much of my red-headed love.

God she was amazing.  It’s not often you find someone so passionate and dedicated, not only to you but to her work.  But I digress…

A new year stands before us all.  I have no idea what surprises this one will have in store for me or those I call ‘family’.  But I know I will not face this new year alone which is a great comfort.  I have people like Jason, Otto, Brian, their families and so many others who’s lives touch mine.  I think that’s been the greatest gift of all.  Even though I have outlived so many people who I’ve loved, I am never truly alone.  And because I remember, none of them are ever forgotten.

My existence is a strange one, but at least I find it serves so many others.

Jason is proposing another toast to all so I better wrap this up.  A promising new year awaits and I for one am looking forward to seeing what it has to offer.

Another Note From the Author….

Hello everyone, sorry for the slow updates recently.  I had planned on another post today, but life has a way of kind of being really getting in the way sometimes.  Especially when you’re going back to college.  I started attending my first university this week.  Prior to that the past few weeks have been chaotic with my wife getting a new job.

She got her Bachelors Degree last spring at the same university where I’m going now.  She studied to become a high school math teacher.  This summer had been a rough one for us for several other reasons as well, including her taking special summer courses for her credential to be come a teacher.  I had to drive her around a number of places including a couple of schools where she was interning.  A lot of that driving meant time away from the keyboard both for this blog and the novel itself.    There were a lot of things to be done around the house that only I was available to do (cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.)

I also had to go through some skin cancer surgery, which didn’t always leave me in the best of shape to be working on things.

However…

These last two weeks, I was spending a lot of time on the novel itself thanks to my wife’s new job.  She had to go through the interview process, be offered the job, accept it, and went through a couple of weeks of training at the new school so she could settle in.  Now the location of her job was in another town about 1/2 an hour away from where we currently live, which is actually quite a nice drive.

But even better, the town where she’s working has the most beautiful library, where I parked myself for hours working on the book.  I’m happy to announce that the 1st draft is almost finished.  I’m within pages of finishing it off.  Once that’s done, I’ll be doing a second draft to iron out certain issues such as clarity of thought, spelling, making sure the story flows, and finally getting to work on the actual cover.

After the 2nd draft is completed it will be going to my proofreader/editor.  Then I will do the 3rd draft at which point it will be unleashed on some willing Beta-Readers.  Once I hear back from them, a final draft will be completed and the book will be released.

How long will all that take?  I don’t have a clear idea yet, but the release will happen between late October and early December.  That much I can tell you.  It will all depend on how long it takes for others to get back to me (editing, beta-reading, etc.)  Once the 1st draft is completed the second one will come fairly quickly.

So hang in there, the actual novel is coming.  I will be posting more blog entries by the various characters you’ll be meeting in the book very soon.  Some will be funny, others interesting, a few tearful, but I’ll try not to leave you bored.

A new post will be here in a week.  From what the characters are telling me, we’ll be hearing either from Nathaniel, Lisa, or Marisa.  Or someone completely new.  Some characters can get kind of pushy.

For now I bid you a pleasant week.  Come freely, visit frequently, but always leave a bit of the happiness you bring to this blog.  (paraphrased from Bram Stoker’s Dracula).  This is my copy.  As you can see, I’ve read it a ‘few’ times, give or take…

 

Nathaniel’s Blog “Gone West” August 20th, 201-

While scouring my art studio for clean paper I found an old journal I thought I’d lost.  It’s a fairly recent one with only a few entries in it.  I remember buying it just after I headed out to California to meet with some movie producers down in Los Angeles.  It had been many years since I’d last been down there so I bought some art supplies to do some preliminary sketches to be turned into paintings later on.  The journal had originally been intended so I could make some mental notes and impression, but it wound up being a travel diary after I made an unexpected stop in Monterey and wound up visiting my first aquarium…

 

*Note:   Yes I know it sounds weird but most places like this have daytime business hours.  I was lucky to catch this one with extended evening hours.  Furthermore, not everywhere I’ve gone has been close to the water.  A pity really because I really enjoy walking along the sea, or traveling on a ship.

 

I need to do that some more.  Anyway, here goes…

 

Travel Journal, May 16th, 2009…

 

Well, everything is set.  The producers were happy and so am I.  Soon my bank account will be as well.  Negotiations for the rights to my first two novels are set and all is well.  I’ve come back north to stay with some old friends, the Cloudfoots.  As the name implies, they were of native American ancestry dating back to way before my time even.  

 

I met Jason Cloudfoot some years back over in Connecticut, while I was on a book signing tour.  We hit it off right away and he told me some wonderful tales of Seneca lore.  I  in turn shared some of my stories.  He’s one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met.  He’s very observant.  He figured out right away I wasn’t all that I appeared to be… but that’s a story for another time.

 

In the end we became great friends and I visited with him frequently when his children were growing up.  Now they have families of their own and have moved out this way and are currently living up near Santa Cruz.  When they heard I was going to be down in Los Angeles, they insisted I swing up north and come to stay with them for a few days.  

 

When I gave them a date they asked me to meet them here in Monterey, because they were taking the children to the aquarium located here.  Apparently, this place keeps long hours and occasionally have sleep-overs for children who wish to spend the night surrounded by the mysterious beings from the depths.  

 

I agreed to meet them and I’m so glad I did.  I’ve never been to an aquarium like this before.  To me, an aquarium is a big twenty to thirty gallon tank in someone’s living room, filled with gold-fish or whatever.  

 

I had no idea what a treat I was in for.  This place was magical.  I’ve practically filled my sketch pad with pencil drawings of creatures and settings I’d never dreamed existed.  Oh, I’ve seen photos in magazines, but to actually be here is another thing entirely.

 

For one thing, each exhibit room has it’s own background sounds.  There’s a jellyfish exhibit that is nice and dark (perfect for someone like me) with the most ethereal music playing in the back ground.  It was so soothing and relaxing I almost didn’t want to leave that room.  The types of fish varied more widely than I ever suspected.  

 

 

Then there were the sea otters, playful furry beings who are so gosh-darned cute as well. They are also very large, much bigger than I originally expected.  Some are the size of a large dog, as in 60-70 pounds big.  Yet they were so graceful under the water.

 

There was a particularly interesting blue room with a circular ceiling.  Inside the ceiling was a series of glass windows all interconnected, with silver sardines racing about in one huge continuous circle.  It was both dizzying and breathtaking.  

 

I even got to see my first real live octopus.  My timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  Like me, the creature is usually very shy during the daytime hours.  But tonight, he was more lively and I got to see him to great advantage.  I made several sketches of him for future use.

 

A part of me could have stayed in this wondrous place for days or weeks.  Alas, time was getting on and the children decided they wanted to be home instead of staying for the sleepover.  Too much excitement for them they said.  Personally I think they were a little intimidated by all that was around them and I couldn’t blame them.  Everything here inspires both wonder and awe.  I could set up my easel and spend night after night painting these wonderful creatures.  This place is truly magical…

 

 

Alas, I haven’t been back there since, duty has called me away to other places.  But I hope to get back there soon.  Jason is no longer with us, but his children know me (and what I am) yet always ask me to come and visit them again.  Which I will do shortly.  There are other sights and places I wish to visit, like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and a supposed “Concrete Boat”.  Jason’s son always laughs when he mentions it, perhaps it’s the incredulous tone in my voice.  A concrete boat?  That is something I have to see for myself.  I’m planning on going to see them next month.  I’ll write more about that adventure when I get there.

 

For now, I’m going to set up my easel and try and make up my mind which of my sketches to work from first.  I’ll either do several pieces or use the various creatures to create one large painting.  We shall see, it’s so hard to say.  They are all so beautiful and colorful.  My palette will get a hell of a workout over the next few weeks.

 

Nathaniel’s Blog March 23rd, 201- “Me and My Easel”


Just got back from the museum.  Transcribed more letters onto the computer, while Brian tended to a new exhibit.  I’m pleased to say that the transcriptions are getting easier with time.  Occasionally, I find it more difficult and emotionally draining, but it mostly depends on the content of the letters and who wrote them.

Tonight I was mostly working on letters to friends while I was serving the in the 7th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, more commonly known as ‘The Bloody Seventh’.  We didn’t start out with that moniker, it came later.  But for the first six months of our existence we were basically guarding the railroads from Confederate raiders.  These letters were from that period.

I enter the building where “The Crypt” is located.  But instead of going into the club itself which is located in the basement level, I head upstairs.  As I’ve indicated before, I bought the entire structure back during the Great Depression.  It’s a four story affair that takes up a small block downtown.  I keep the place in good shape so no politicians can get any funny ideas about declaring the place ‘run down’ or an ‘eyesore’ that needs to be pulled down.

The ground floor is currently being renovated to become roller skating rink.  Yes, you read correctly.  A Roller Rink.  There’s already some really good hardwood floors and open space down there. It won’t be a huge affair, more like a couple of small rinks.  The smaller of the two will be for lessons or private parties, while the other will be more like a regular place.

I had thought about making one of them and Ice Skating Rink, but the refrigeration equipment would have to get run down into the basement area.  Plus there was the risk of any leaks dripping down into The Crypt itself.

Anyhow, above what will become the roller rink are three floors.  The 2nd floor is comprised of mostly empty office spaces, while the 3rd floor contains empty small apartments.  Occasionally I’ll rent a couple out, but not for very long.  I’m not keen on anyone living full time in the same building where I stay whenever I’m in town.

Then there’s the fourth floor, which is closed off to all unless I invite people up.  The entire floor is one gigantic open space that I use as my art studio.  Mostly the room is filled with canvases, oil paints, pastels and the like.  There’s a big window that looks out into the sky that I love to work near, especially on nights when there’s a full moon, like tonight.

I wander over to where my easel is and pull out one of the many canvasses I’ve been working on.  That’s one of the tricky things with oil painting, you have let each layer dry before you continue.  So whenever I do settle in to work in here, I’ll have several pieces under way and a lot of paint on my palette.

I tried my hand at painting until after I ‘came back’.  It was in the late 1890’s, shortly after the death of my first wife Madeline.  We’d been traveling in Europe at the time she passed.  Feeling lost and alone I’d found myself wandering the streets at night.  One evening I’d run across a gallery where a local artist was giving a demonstration.  I wandered in and sat down to listen.

By the time he’d finished, I was eager to talk to him about doing a portrait of my dear Madeline.  Alas the  speaker refused, but another fellow who had attended the talk was only too happy to talk with me.  He was an older man, Professor Otto Hofstadter.  I often wonder what turns my existence would’ve taken had I not met him that night.  Much of man I have become I owe to him.

We spent many evenings talking and eventually Otto found an artist who was renowned for his portrait work.  I still treasure the portrait Mr. Sargent did of my Madeline, but I remember him more fondly for taking me under his wing.  I studied oil painting under his watchful eye for three years, but then I had to return to America to deal with issues regarding my Madeline’s estate.

But like any good pupil, I continued to learn more from other teachers, some of them recommended to me by my mentor.  I did not see him again until 1918 when we met in England.  He had just been hired by the British Ministry of Information to paint a series of images depicting the Great War (World War I for those not familiar with the original name of that conflict).  His depiction of the victims of ‘mustard gas’ I still find hauntingly realistic.

I like to think it was my time with Mr. Sargent that got me to try and learn new things.  Otto, being a professor, got me to take night classes and expand my education. But that’s a story for another entry.  Right now it’s time to get down to some painting.  Light is just right and I know what I want to work on.

I turn to my unfinished paintings and pull out the one of Brian’s daughter Lisa.  She’s going to be turning sixteen in a couple of months.  And since I’m doing her portrait in oils, I really want to make sure its fully dried and finished in time.