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

“Happy New Years” From Nathan and Company

new day

This is what one of our authors posted on FB and it’s a sentiment Otto, Lisa, Marisa, Isabella and the rest of us share. I know things have been a little slow here on the blog, what with our 1st anthology , “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” (available now in Kindle and Trade Paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KMN78B2) having just come out and all, but rest assured new tales are on the way. And so are some long overdue volumes of work such as “The Door” which will be the fourth full-length novel in the Para-Earth Series, which me and my friends are a part of.

Up until now, the authors have kind of taken a Terry Pratchett approach to the series. When Mr. Pratchett created his Discworld Series he had different groups of characters he’d focus on in each book, but all the stories were taking place in the same reality and on the same world. He had his rag-tag bunch of police constables led by the crotchety Commander Sam Vimes in ‘The Watch’ books, then he had his wizards and their Unseen University in books focusing on them, Death himself had a number of books focused on him and his granddaughter Susan Sto Helit, then there were Granny Weatherwax, Tiffany Aching, and the other witches who had their own area in the series, and so on. However, every so often Mr. Pratchett would mix his cast in some books to help solidify the idea that all of this was taking place in the same world.

Well, Allan and Helen are getting ready to do the same thing with us and the cast of characters from “The Bridge” and “The Ship”. This has been an idea that has been long in development for them, especially for Allan who we have come to lovingly refer to as “Mr. Decisive”. The reason we do this is because he’s been working on “The Door” since 2014. While he had a clear vision for a beginning, most of the middle section, and an ending for the book, he could never quite find the right sequence of events to take place in between which bring them all together in a nice cohesive tale.

Realizing he was getting nowhere fast, Allan took a break from that book and focused on us with Helen. This led to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” along with the creation of this blog and the short-stories contained within. For those who’ve been following this blog since the beginning, and have read “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, you will know that on a few occasions some of the characters from those books have appeared in this blog along with Otto and myself in the past. Those past encounters will be the basis for what is about to come in “The Door”, where I will come face-to-face with my old flame Police Sergeant Veronica Ross. This meeting will lead all of us to a haunted house unlike any you’ve ever seen before, as well as many more adventures to come. There will also be plenty of new short stories here on this blog.

So strap yourselves in and get ready for the long haul, because there’s a lot coming your way.

Until next time, thanks for all your support and please keep reading.

thank you

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

20130220_134750

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.

Novel Update…

Hello everyone, I’ve given Nathaniel and company a break this week because of the holiday.  They’ll be back shortly with more blog entries.  But in the meantime I thought you would all like to know how things are progressing on the actual novel.

I’m sure you’ll all be happy to know that I completed the 2nd draft yesterday, which gave me something extra to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.  Writing in the first person has been quite the adventure for me.  Most authors stick inside one character’s head and they act as the narrator for the entire story.  But I prefer sharing various character’s points of view, so I normally used limited third person, where I give each character a chapter where we see inside only their heads for that chapter.

Doing blog, journal, and diary entries to tell the story, has allowed me to do something similar with this novel.  However, I’ve had to create unique ‘voices’ for each character as well.  I didn’t want a blog entry by one of my teenage characters to sound the same as one of my middle-aged male characters.

I’ve also had a bit of a challenge dealing with past tense vs. present tense.  After all, if you’re writing about something that happened to you in your blog/journal you use past tense.  So I’ve had a little bit of a challenge making the events sound just as exciting as if I were using the present tense like I have in my other novels.  Plus I’m trying to make sure I ‘show’ people what happened and not just have the character ‘tell’ you what happened.  I like to give enough details that my readers can picture the scene and all the action inside their heads like it was a movie.  So I’m going to be paying close attention to what my beta-readers say when they get to look at the book.

Now, that I’ve completed the 2nd draft, the book is getting looked over and the first edits will be under way.  I won’t be doing much new writing for a few weeks because I’m attending university and it’s getting towards the end of the semester.  This means the professors are loading us up with last minute assignments, as well as getting us prepped for final exams.

I will be putting out a short story involving Nathaniel and several characters from my previous novels, creating my first cross-over story.  Being a short story it won’t take me long to put it together.  It will be a holiday piece which I plan on releasing on Christmas Day.  So stay tuned for more detials on that.

In the meantime, Nathaniel, Lisa, and Marisa, as well as a few others will be posting here again very shortly.  So you won’t be without anything new to read here.

With that said, thanks for all your support and feedback.  I’m glad so many of you are enjoying my vampyre’s experiences along with those who are a large part of his extended life.  For those who celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I’m looking forward to this weekend to start decorating as well as study and do homework.

Until next time be happy and healthy.

Reflections On The Past And Ponderings Of The Future…

The Crypt is silent tonight.  It’s a Tuesday and the place is closed as usual.  Usually I only open the place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  If I have it open during the regular weekdays, a lot of the kids would never get enough sleep for school the next day, and I don’t want to deal with angry parents complaining that my place is an attractive nuisance.  Not that anyone would believe it.  My place is a drug and alcohol free zone.  It’s actually one of the safest places teenagers can come to get away from the darker elements out there.

Still, keeping the place open seven days a week would be quite demanding on me and my DJ Scar-Man.  He has a family these days and needs to be able to spend time with them.  And I need time to myself.  Even after a hundred and fifty years, I still enjoy some ‘me’ time.  I know, I know, most vampires you see in movies or read about are lonely and longing for company.  Well this is real life and I have plenty of extended family and friends who love to have me visit. or like to come over and drop in to see me and I love it.

However, I do need some time alone every so often and tonight is one of those evenings.  So with the doors locked up I’ve scaled the many steps that lead to the top of this old building where my art studio awaits.  I though I might be in the mood to pick up a brush and work on a canvas or two, but not at the moment.  Instead, I’m in a more contemplative mood at the moment.

There’s a huge picture window at one end of the studio that allows me to gaze out at the town.  It’s very pretty at night.  The streetlights are lit up, as well as a number of houses.  The evening is still young so very few have gone to bed just yet.

 

Who knows who I might meet this evening if I venture out into the streets.  That’s half the fun of being a night walker.  It’s always an adventure.  You see things and people, most folks overlook in their busy day.  For me, I find stories and inspirations for paintings, novels, or just things that make you think a bit.  No, I’m not  one of the gloom and doom vampyres of legend.  I’m going to be walking this earth for some time yet and I’m fully aware of it.  I am what I am these days.  Although I did not choose this existence, it was pushed onto me by a very unlikely source, but unlike others I treasure each moment I have.

I’ve touched and had my life touched by so many wonderful people.  Not just the stars I met back in vaudeville, or the heroes I met out on the battlefields, but everyday people and I thank them for it.  The ones who’ve come and gone, as well as those who are still with me now.  Yes, I’ve said goodbye to a good many friends over the decades, but there are always new people entering one’s life that you can share and experience so much with.

In my hundred and fifty… correction hundred and sixty-seven years on this planet (I always forget to count my life before the change) I’ve seen so much.  How many people can claim they saw the first silent films?  Or heard the first radio broadcasts?  I encountered and even got to work on some of the earliest computers when punch-cards were the high point of technology.

Plus I got to watch man reach the moon and take his first steps onto that barren alien landscape.  And there are so many years ahead of me, which both fill me with wonder and a slight dread.  For unlike vampyres of legend I do age, albeit at a much slower rate.  I was only seventeen when I was changed and these days I barely look thirty.  For every ten years that pass for others I age only one.  This means I have a long time ahead of me, but what about when I finally start to reach ‘old’ age?  Will I start to turn grey and less able-bodied?  With I spend centuries trapped in a body that is feeble and infirm?  That’ is a frightening prospect, that I try not to think too much about.

There’s still so much about my condition I don’t know anything about.  In spite of twenty years spent getting degrees in botany, anatomy and physiology, and several other sciences, there’s still so much to learn.  Luckily, science continues to move forward and I can always go back and take more classes and learn more about the new discoveries that may help me fully understand what I’ve become.  And that’s something I actually look forward to.

I love taking classes and learning new things.  I’ve taken all kinds of classes over the decades including art, dance, languages, mathematics, writing, etc.  Learning can be so much fun.  I meet new people and get introduced to new ideas and skills.  Life is a wondrous thing and whether you have only one life-time or many what you do with your time can be very enriching.  It all depends on the individual.

And right now, this individual feels like stepping out for a while.  I’ll come back here later and start working on one of my unfinished canvasses.  There’s one in particular I’m very eager to get back to.

I’ve already put it on an easel so it can be waiting for me when I get back.  It’s a portrait of a young girl with flowing black hair and the most amazing brown eyes.  I can never forget her eyes.  They saw through me like no other and loved me for who AND what I am…

Nathaniel’s Blog April 3rd, 201- “My Visit to Marye’s Heights”

 

I visited Mary’s Heights over in Virginia today.  It’s something I try to do every year.  Partly to pay my respects to my Union brothers who fell that day, as well as to those from the Confederate side who took pity that night cold December night.  War can be hell, but it can also bring out a certain decency among men when the shooting stops even for just a little while.  I was there… sort of.  Or rather, I could see everything from where I landed up.

Like so many others I was badly wounded, but out of anyone’s reach.  However, the thing I passed through which led to my current condition, was still open.  I could see down onto the battlefield and saw all that transpired.

Those wounded during battle, like myself, who could not drag themselves to safety had been left where they fell.  Still alive and crying piteously for water.  But no one dared go out into the open for fear of being shot.  There were hundreds of them

Night had fallen, the guns and the cannons had gone quiet.  But silence was nowhere to be found.  The screams and the cries for water from the wounded left on the battlefield still echo in my ears.  But what happened the next morning is etched into my memory like a treasure.

The legend of the Angel of Marye’s Heights comes into question at times, but I saw what transpired.  Admittedly, I was drifted in and out of consciousness occasionally, but I was awake enough to see the Confederate soldier carefully climb over that stone wall and take those first tentative steps onto the battlefield where thousands of Union soldiers lay, many still alive.

The fellow was armed with dozens of water canteens, blankets and little else.  I remember silently praying that no one from my side would take a shot at him as he carefully made his way to the nearest Union soldier and gave him water and a blanket.  He made my brother soldier as comfortable as possible, before moving on to the next  man.  I didn’t know the man in gray’s name, but I wished like crazy to shake his hand and offer a word of thanks for what he was doing.  He went back for more water and blankets time and again.  I also prayed that by some miracle he’d look up and see where I was and could show me some of that compassion, but his eyes were fixed on those before him.

Eventually, I passed out and when I awoke again all was quiet.  The battlefield was quiet, I vaguely recall crying out myself, hoping someone would hear and take pity on me, either with a bullet or medical aid.  Of course, no one heard and if they did my voice would’ve seemed to come out of thin air.

Although I say ‘no one’ heard me, something else did and made me what I am now.  Eventually, I managed to fall back onto the battlefield, partly to escape a menace that still haunts my dreams.  It was night and I remember falling next to one of my fellow soldiers.  He’d been stripped of his wool uniform by some poorly dressed southerner who had been desperate to keep warm.  How do I know this?  Because of the person who mistook me lying next to my fallen comrade as a another dead body.  I saw into his mind as I sank my teeth into him and tasted blood for the first time.

Miraculously, I did not kill him.  I was too taken aback by my own actions to finish the job.  The thirst was still with me though and it took every ounce of self-control to keep from indulging in the fluid pumping through his veins.  However, I managed to make myself let him go and slaked my thirst with the more stale blood of my fallen friends.  At least in their case, I did not have to see the terror I inspired as I took from them what my altered form demanded.

To this day, I prefer my blood to be in bags or from a willing volunteer who’s mind will not hold terror or fear of me.  Instead I will see and feel the friendship that drives them to making the gesture.  I find their thoughts a great comfort on those occasions.

On this day, as I venture out onto the field where I fought I feel the pull from above and know the opening to the place I went is still there.   I do not sense presence from it though and allow myself a sigh of relief.  This is the other reason I keep coming back to this place.  I keep hoping to find the ‘door’ or whatever it was I passed through to be closed.  Perhaps it does and it’s merely my presence that makes it open again.

I make a sweep of the area anyway and find nothing amiss.  After a while I bend down and offer a prayer up to my fallen friends who lost their lives in this place all those years ago.  Then I stand up and head off to a particular memorial.

It’s a beautiful piece that helps renew my faith in man’s ability to show compassion even in the heat of war.  There etched in the dark stone I see the name “Richard Rowland Kirkland” the man I saw bringing water and aid to my injured brethren in arms.  I quietly offer a quiet thank you to his memory and move on.  Although he never reached me to offer water or comfort, his actions that day did feed my soul with hope and a desire to be as good a man as I could be in spite of what I’d become, a vampyre with a human heart.

Nathaniel’s Blog March 19th, 201- “An Evening With Family”

bookstore front

Finally got back into town after several weeks of book signings. Of all the things I’ve done over the years, I thought becoming a writer of novels would be the least demanding.  Boy was I wrong.  Writing the books was one thing.  I made my own hours, wrote when I felt like it, etc.  That was all well and good.  No one told me about the other half of the equation.

Finding an agent to represent me was a bit of an issue for a while, but I had time on my side and I eventually got one.  Then having them pitch and find a publisher was a bit of a wait, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  Once we found one and their editors got a hold of the manuscript, then things started to change.  Seeing my oh so wonderful pages come back covered in so much red I had to run to my ‘supply room’ just to make sure I hadn’t spilled any bags on the pages without realizing it.

Mind you, the day I got to see my first book on the shelves at the bookstores and online, was a real thrill.  It got even better when I found out it made the NY Times Besteller list.  I was so proud.  My hard work had paid off and I could sit back and relax while planning out the next installment in the series.

That’s when reality decided to come knocking at my door, and it brought it’s buddy ‘The Learning Curve’ along with it.

The demands for book signings and the interviews started pouring in.  It wasn’t easy getting people to understand I rarely do daytime appearances, and even those I keep short and sweet.  I have to glut my cells with fresh blood in order to handle the exposure, even at a minimum.  Unfortunately, this gives me a very ‘pink’ complexion that people often comment on.  I usually tell them I got a bad sunburn the day before.  Actually it’s partly happening right at that moment, but I can usually last a few hours so long as I’m not in direct sunlight. I learned this little trick decades ago out on the battlefield, but I also learned the downside of too much blood and the nasty side effects it could have.  It’s a delicate balancing act, but I’ve learned how to maintain a balance.

Anyway, with the latest round of publicity for the newest installment of my ‘Love Across Time’ series out of the way, it felt good to come back here and spend time with my godchildren.  Or rather, this particular set of godchildren.  Lord knows I’ve got a number of them out there, including a few overseas.

But, Brian and his family are rather special to me.  Their ancestors were friends of my family before I joined the Union Army.  One of my best friends was David Weston.  We fought and nearly died together several times.  He became highly decorated and became my captain in time, or rather just in time.  It was shortly after his promotion that I… became what I am.  I confided in him what had happened and he helped keep my secret by assigning me to night duty and scouting missions.

fallen soldier

When David fell at Gettysburg, I had myself listed among the fallen and came back here in secret to break the news to his widow Madeline, who was expecting at the time.  She had braved the lines to be near him and had been sent back home after becoming pregnant.  Upon hearing the news she went into labor and I was all she had available to help her with the delivery.  Long story short, I managed to keep my own needs in check while I helped deliver the first of my many godchildren.  Although, that boy, also became my step-son, two years later.  But that’s another story.

In any case, you can understand my attachment to this family, who also consider me one of their own.  Especially, Brian’s children Lisa and Geoffrey.  In spite of a thirteen year difference, Lisa is very attached to her baby brother.  Who sometimes attaches himself to me with a vengeance.  Like tonight.

He’s been well-behaved, but I couldn’t help noticing how he keeps watching me intently.  As if he’s hoping for something, but is afraid to ask.  I can’t figure out what he wants though.  I did the ‘money-shake’ thing with him as soon as I came in.  He loves being turned upside down and watching coins suddenly rain down around him.  I used to do it to his sister too, until she complained she was too old for that sort of thing.  Too bad.  I was going to start using dollar bills in her case.  Oh well.

Anyway, we’d just finished dinner and were sitting in the living room when Geoffrey finally comes up to me and asks, “Are your feet going woof yet?”

It takes me a moment to realize what he means.  I got into the habit of using a phrase from the 1930’s to complain about being on my feet too much.  The last time I did it in front of little Geoffrey, I’d used a little of my shape-shifting ability to produce two smaller versions of my ‘Black Dogs’ to play with him.  Poor little guy is allergic to dogs, which is sad because he loves to play with them.

I smile and grab a blanket from nearby.  After covering my legs with it I tell him, “As a matter of fact, my dogs are barking.”  Then I look down and he follows my gaze.

There is movement under the blanket and radiates down to where my feet would be.  A moment later, two black puppy-shaped heads peak out from beneath the blanket.

Immediately, the boy’s face lights up as they bark happily at him and pounce.  Since they’re smaller than what I usually produce, I was able to give them complete bodies this time.  I let them detach from me so they can play with Geoffrey.  As the three roll around on the floor together, Lisa comes to sit next to me.  She knows I won’t be able to move for a while, or at least until her brother gets tired and goes to bed, which will be in about an hour or so.  I hope.

“Would you like to come with me to The Crypt tonight?” I ask her, knowing it will be all right with her parents.  I checked with them earlier.  “It’s Friday so there’s no school tomorrow.”

“YES!” she cries excitedly and kisses me on the cheek.

As she takes off to get ready, I turn to Brian and his wife Mary, “Don’t say I never give you any time off from your kids.  Just make sure you enjoy yourselves.  Maybe you can make me another godchild.”

“No way,” Mary replies archly, “I got my tubes tied after Geoffrey was born.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy going through the motions of making another one,” I smile.

She blushes furiously, but I can tell the idea has a lot of appeal to her.

Behind her, I see Brian grinning broadly and mouth the words ‘Thank you.’

I simply nod and continue to watch Geoff and the puppies at play.  He’ll be good and tired by the time they’re done with him.  The boy will sleep soundly tonight.  An earthquake wouldn’t be enough to wake him up.

It feels good being part of a family, every once in a while anyway.  Maybe, one day, I’ll even let myself settle down and stay put.  The question is where?

My family homestead is nearby.  I know it’s just sitting there empty, waiting for me.  The problem is that there might be another who’s also waiting for me, within its walls.  A person I made a promise to, that I failed to keep…

Civil War House