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…

“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

Nathaniel’s Blog – “Letter From My Father Nov. 1861”

 November 12, 1861

My Son,

     Know that we are in receipt of your letter from October 30th and were relieved to hear you remain in good health.  I am grateful, you addressed the letter to me and not your mother.  Some of the details you shared within those pages would’ve alarmed both her and your sister to no end.  I’m pleased to see that all my years of lecturing you about the wisdom of foresight were not wasted. 

      Word of illness spreading among regiments and even within forts have reached our ears, so I was very glad to hear you have been fairing better than some of your fellow soldiers, was welcome news indeed.  In sharing your letter with your mother and sister, I left out many of the details of your last encounter with the rebels.   Although I suspect, you had already not shared all that you could even with me.   

 I pause for a moment as I stare at those words.  He knew me so well.  Often people told me how much I was like him, but in this case it was my mother who taught me to hold certain facts back from him.  As proud and firm a man as he was, my father could be very sensitive.  I see this in the next paragraph when he speaks of Roger, my best friend since childhood.

Allow me to express my deepest sympathies for young Roger’s passing.  Yes, word reached us about what happened.  You may receive a letter from his family expressing their gratitude for your staying at his side, while under fire until the end.  I will never forget all the time you spent with him as children, fishing, playing, getting underfoot.  The two of you were inseparable.  Pray take heart that a part of him will always be with you, and will hopefully be watching over you in the days to come.

 See what I mean?  He didn’t always express himself so warmly, but I always knew it was there.  Perhaps, it was concern for my sister that had put him in an especially sensitive mood when he wrote me on this occasion.

The effects of your sister’s illness still plague her.  I regret not telling you sooner, but shortly after you left her condition worsened.  She had contracted the Scarlet Fever which had claimed so many children in the past two months.  Luckily, she survived, but is still very weak.  Not an uncommon thing for a child after suffering such a dangerous illness.  The doctor says there may have been damage to her heart, but time will tell.  

God how I wish the man had been wrong.

Know that she continues to ask about you and looks forward to all your letters with great anticipation.  She maintains high hopes that you will indeed be back next month in time to share Christmas.  In spite of all that I’ve been hearing, I share that hope as well.  Your mother and I pray this conflict will end as abruptly as it started and we can be a family once more.

      Until that time comes, do take care of yourself my son.  Your mother will be sending a package of food, blankets and more clothing shortly.  Do not bother sending your pay home to us, for you know very are quite well off.  Spend some of it on your fellow soldiers who are not as fortunate.  Remember the teachings of our Lord and may he bless and keep you safe.

 Write again soon.

 Your father,

D. Steward 

 Even after all these years, the mention of my sister’s bout with Scarlet Fever still hits me hard.  I remember using some of the pay I had on me at the time to buy my sister a new doll and some pretty things.  At the time of her illness, the first antibiotics were still another decade or two away.  Burning the patients clothing, blankets and any personal items they kept near them was the standard practice at the time.  Although I also knew my parents would’ve replaced a number of items for her, she favorite doll and stuffed toys that I had given her would’ve been thrown into the blaze.

I’m glad I acted so quickly.  For just two weeks later I received a letter from her…

A hand falls on my shoulder.   “Uncle Nate?  I think you’ve done enough for tonight,” Brian tells me.  “Why don’t we go to ‘The Crypt’ for a drink or two.”

I catch the tone in his voice that says ‘You need it!’

He’s right.  I do. 

 

 

 

Marisa’s Musings October 5th, 2007

Author’s Note: today I’m introducing you all to Marisa.  She will be one of the lead characters in the actual novel and will be playing a vital role in the story.  Here we see her very first blog entry, when she is only ten years old and very happy.   

Hi Everyone and welcome to my blog.

I’m Marisa and I’m a huge fan of ghosts, scary movies, and vampires. Especially vampires, I love watching movies about them.  Probably because of my dad.  He has got like every vampire movie made it but he hardly ever gets to watch them because Mom’s not into them and he hates watching them alone.  

So about a year ago, I got the book “Dracula” for Christmas and now he and I watch the movies together every Sunday.  We just watched Christopher Lee in “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave”.

He has got to be like my favorite Dracula, even though in real life he’s like ancient these days.  Though I did see him in Star Wars “Attack of the Clones” and frankly, he was the best thing in that movie personally speaking.  Even being so much older now, he still has an air of power and charisma.  I kind of hope he stays around for a while, he seems pretty cool.

Though, I really can’t say the movie was all that bad.  I loved all the robots and battles, those were pretty cool.  I wasn’t too keen on Anakin because he seemed kind of whiny sometimes, but I could certainly understand his killing all those Sand People after what they did to his mom.  If anyone hurt either of my parent’s I’d be going all Terminator on their asses.

 Um… did I mention I also love Sci-Fi movies with robots and cyborgs?  I get that from my dad too.  

 Mom likes to think he was hoping for a boy to share all these things with since she’s not into that stuff.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I don’t care.  The guys at school like the fact that I’m into that kind of stuff.

That’s all for now, my Mom’s telling me to get  ready for my first Girl Scout meeting.  Up until a few months ago, I was still in Brownies.  Now I’m old enough to join the big girls.  See you all later.   

 

First Blog Entry of Nathaniel Steward January 2nd 20–

So here I am, creating my very first blog entry.  Night has barely fallen outside, I can hear the rustlings of nocturnal creatures, who are as familiar to me as my own portrait, just outside these walls.  Soon I will join them again.  Enjoying our nightly rambles, through the brush and empty streets.  But first I must complete that which came here for.

 I confess that I still find the idea of using a computer to record my thoughts and memories a little… strange.  Especially one that can rest in my lap.  I saw the pictures of the early ones that took up room after room of space back in the 1950’s.  

1950_computer

I even got to work on some of the ones that came later, with their huge spools of tape.  These days, you can fit more data than those eve could on a flash drive that is smaller than my finger.  Amazing.

 In just a few short decades the technology advanced by leaps and bounds.  Some would say it seemed to happen in the blink of an eye.  I know better, it was hardly that quick, but it was fascinating to watch it happen.

 But I digress.  I’ll have plenty of time to dwell on the things I’ve seen over time later.  Right now I need to take advantage of the museum being closed and copying some of my old correspondence into electronic form.  My godson Brian assures me that the words I copy will continue to exist in the ether of the internet for centuries to come.  We’ll see.  If I can still access them in another hundred to two hundred years, I’ll be more at ease.

Words and thoughts floating about in an electronic pocket, insubstantial yet as real as if they were put to paper, still fascinates me.  In spite of all the things I’ve seen and learned since I took my first and last breaths so long ago, humanity continues to amaze.  Thank the heavens, my father always encouraged me to be curious and try new things.  He also taught me not to let go of the past and the things I loved, learned and lost.  He told me, nothing is truly lost if one can hold onto it in the heart and mind.  

He was right.  There are many who I can no longer touch or hold in my arms, but are still very much still alive within me.  But even a brain like mine cannot remember every little thing on a moment’s notice.  Our brains are constantly filling with new data, faces, likes, hates, and information that things can get cluttered.  Which is why I started journal writing back when I was only ten.  Even back then I understood how easy it was to lose track of one’s thoughts and memories at times.

I’ve kept all my journals, at least the ones that survived time, the elements and of course the fires.  I have a tendency to stay too long in some places.  Even when I hear some of the murmurings whispered in voices so faint, the speakers have no clue I hear them as if they were standing right next to me.  Murmurs give way to speculations.  Speculations then lead to secret meetings of those with a like mind.  Eventually, they in turn lead to spying and eventually open hostility.  Finally, action is taken, either by a few chosen or an entire community where entire homes and their contents are lost in flames.

However, I have an extraordinary memory and can recall most of the things I put to paper so long ago.  But this is not always the case. Which is why I have come to the museum.  My godson and his father, another godson of mine, oversee the place and all its treasures.  They and their families know me and what I’ve become, or rather what I became long before any of them were born. None of them fear me, only for me.  They are my guardians and defenders, as I have been theirs since the day I came back from the battlefield in 18… no.  That’s as story for another entry.  I’m digressing again and I know why.

 I glance down at the yellowed pages that lay preserved in plastic sheets at my right hand.  The ink has browned with age, but the handwriting is still very legible.  As well cared for as they are, these pages will one day crumble and be lost to me along with their words and the emotions they convey.  As painful as the task before me is, I must once more read those words and copy them onto a new page where time will not take them away from me.  An electronic page that will not crumble if touched by hand or age.

 I take a deep breath, well not really.  It’s more an old habit that never leaves you.  A memory the body has not forgotten and continues to do without you really thinking about it.  I have to admit, it’s one of those little details that keeps people from wondering too much about me.

 There I go again.  ENOUGH!  No more distractions.  I must copy these letters, or at least this first one.  Perhaps after I’ve done it, the others will be easier.

September 19, 1861

 My Dearest Isabella,

 I will be gone by the time you find this letter.  Pray forgive me for leaving without saying goodbye, but I know you would’ve tried talking me out of going if we’d met.  Know that I am fully aware of what I am doing will be dangerous.  However, there is so  much more at stake than just my safety.  

 Father himself spoke to us all at length about things discussed at the convention in Wheeling.  Our state of Virginia has become as torn asunder as the country itself due to the growing conflict.  Brothers are being drawn into conflict with each other on the expanding battlefield.  This can only be stopped if the rebels and traitors are forced to lay down their arms and return to the Union, before the war becomes too large to contain.  So, I go with my friends who have donned the blue uniform, to try and end this nightmare before it becomes too much to stop easily.

 Know that our commanding officer, a good fellow named Captain Hughes, assures us all that we can have this whole matter resolved within two months and that we will all be home before the year is out.  So rest assured, that I will be back in time for you and I to share Christmas along with mother, father and all our friends within the house.

 I want to see you hail and hardy on my return, which means you are to listen to Doctor Henry and take the medicine he’s prescribed for you.  That cough you developed recently sounded very unpleasant.  So rest and get well while I’m gone.  I shall return, perhaps with a medal or two for acts of heroism.

 Until then know you will always be in my thoughts, and I remain your loving  brother,

 Nathaniel

 

A barely finish typing the last words when I hear, “Uncle Nathan,?”

 I sit up and turn to Brian, holding out a box of tissues to me.  He gestures with his head to the plastic covered letter on the desk.  Drops of red have splattered across the protective covering.  

 Automatically I reach up and touch my cheek and feel tracks of warm, sticky moisture.  

 Sighing, I take one of offered tissues and wipe my face.  Brian tells me he’ll take care of cleaning the sheet protector.  

 “Thank you,” I tell him and stand up.  This was far harder than I expected, but it needed to be done.  A first step.  Perhaps the other ones will be easier to transcribe.  Then I think about the house I grew up in, just a few blocks from here and the family plot in the back.  No, it won’t get easier.  It never did.  Especially around Christmas…

 king-letter-1

A Brief Introduction To This Blog…

***AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a mirror site of the blog I created using Blogger.  Some of my readers expressed a desire that I had created it under WordPress because they find it easier to post comments, follow, and get notifications.  Whichever site you wish to follow the content will be the identical.  I hope my creating this one will make it easier for my fellow WordPress bloggers and readers.  I hope you will enjoy what you find here — Sincerely,  Allan Krummenacker****

Welcome to my newest project, “The Vampyre Blogs”, the precursor to my novel of the same title that will be coming out in December of this year.  It will be my first attempt at a vampire story that will take place around Christmas, hence the timing of the book’s release.

 The purpose of this blog is part experiment, part entertainment.  

The experiment comes in the form of introducing the audience to various characters who will be appearing in the novel, before you ever get to read the book.  I will be posting entries by the various characters on this blog, just as if they were making entries on their own blogs, or in a private diary or journal.  This format (using journals, diaries, and even letters) was used by Bram Stoker, to create his classic novel “Dracula”.  So in tribute to the ‘master’ I am following a similar pattern but using blog and electronic journal entries for my novel.  I’m taking advantage of doing the blog you are reading to get reactions from my possible readers and get some feedback.  I am also hoping to gain more insight to the characters themselves as I write their entries on this blog, so I will be more familiar with them when I begin the actual novel.

The entertainment part of this blog involves letting you the reader get to know some of the characters in advance, aspects of their lives, personality, loves, hates, etc.  Some of them you may find irritating, others sympathetic.  While still some you might not be able to fully make your mind up just yet.  But remember, the purpose of any novel is for characters to grow and change in the course of the story itself.  

This  endeavor is a huge step for me and I hope, you will find the entries both informative and entertaining.  Please note, that NONE of these entries will appear in the book itself.  It wouldn’t be fair to let you all read these posts and then turn around and ask you to pay for having them put together into book form.  I prefer to give these as a gift to my readers so you can know a bit more about who you will be meeting and learning more about their motivations and histories.  Some of this same material may get touched on in the novel itself for those totally new to the storyline, but you will have a more in depth insight into things by following this blog.

 For now I will leave you with this final note: the next entry will be posted by Mr. Nathaniel Steward, born January 1st, 1845 in what would later become West Virginia during the American Civil War.