A Final Sneak Peek…

Just 3 more days until you can get your own copy of the latest installment of our Para-Earth Series…

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The stories contained within these pages will make you laugh, gasp, giggle and possibly shed a tear or two.  But most of all they will leave you anxiously waiting for more stories which we promise are on the way.

Remember you can pre-order your Kindle copy for just $3.99 at the following link:

https://www.amazon.com/Vampyre-Blogs-Anthology-Para-Earths-Para-Earth-ebook/dp/B07KMN78B2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1543161531&sr=1-1

In the meantime here’s one final peek into the first of what we hope will be many paranormal/science fiction anthologies

“Wolfgang In Sheep’s Clothing”

June 2014

By Helen Krummenacker

 

For someone who travels so much, I always seem to have trouble getting ready for departure. It’s helpful these days, having my granddaughter on hand to look after the farm, my pets, and the complex organizing of my correspondence. She came to Germany to get a medical degree and is happy to stay with me and help out. There is little enough work– while we do still produce some crops to send to the local markets, apple and walnut trees require little attention most of the year, and there are people we can hire for that. Mostly, she spends several hours in town working on studies and research, and enjoys the property as a chance to get away.

Still, there are always many details for me to take care of. For instance, my pets take extra attention. They are not the kind of thing you can easily take to the vet. No one has seen a living trilobite, except for in my aquarium, and many of the others have no near relatives that have existed on this Earth. Depending on one’s definition of near. Fluffy, for instance, has many birdlike traits. His usual prey is squirrel, but herons and hawks like them, too, and he largely eats nuts, especially acorns, to get his protein. He also keeps snails and caterpillars from messing up the family garden and rats out of the buildings. Birdlike was a good description for him. One difference in events between two parallel Earths could lead to such wonderful paths in evolution.

The indoor animals were all doing well and the controls for their temperature, humidity, and other such comforts were working fine. Fluffy had noticed me packing and was shadowing me now, wanting plenty of attention before I went away. We played a bit of fetch as I worked and he ran in circles around me out to the barn.

“Wolfgang!” I called out. The pygmy woodland camel was not inside, even though it looked to be a wet day. I assumed he’d decided to forage in the orchard, so I went out that way. Ruefully, I discovered a fence post had been knocked over and had on it some of the brown wool Wolfgang grew.

I quickly ordered Fluffy back. I didn’t need him to get out, too, and start harassing the neighbor’s cat. As bright as a peacock, as large as a turkey, and not exactly a bird, he would be difficult to explain to anyone who got a good look at him.

For that matter, Wolfgang was not easy to explain, but might pass for a rare breed. The question was, where would he be? Following his tracks would help, but only in the softest areas. His feet were wide and kept him from sinking easily. While he was naturally a creature of the forest, he had been raised by me from when he was only about two months old, and I did not believe he would wander far on purpose. However, herd animals seek their kind and, failing that, will seek a good facsimile. Fluffy, for instance, usually spent most of his time among the crows, who were happy to hang around the liminal area between forest and farm to keep their distant, brilliant cousin company.

As for Wolfgang, his closest relatives would be camels or llamas, and neither one was likely to be abundant in the area. On the other hand, llamas did sometimes show up for one reason only. They were terrifically fond of sheep, and guarded them against predators better than a dog.

He wouldn’t, would he? Of course he would. One thing you could trust any pet to do, no matter what their species, was to gravitate to exactly the activity that would be sure to cause chaos. At least it was autumn, and no chance of a shearing taking place. With a sigh, I headed out to Snyder’s, the nearest farm with sheep.

Nathaniel’s Private E-Journal, January 1st, 2005 “Reflections and Looking Forward”


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.

“The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” Is Now Available and So Are The First Reviews…

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After one week, things are looking good for the latest installment of the Para-Earth Book Series as readers welcome Nathan and company with open arms…

4.0 out of 5 stars:  A new twist on vampires!

Amazon: October 25, 2016

Second book I’ve read by this indie author. Allan has now partnered with his wife, Helen.

Characters are fun. If you like vampires, you’ll like this story. A little Twilight, a little Bram Stoker, a little Stephen King. You can see Allan’s influences in his works. Nathan is a fascinating take on the immortal vampire. His family and friends are as dysfunctional as any modern group. He negotiates the modern world with great agility.

The monsters appear, the battles arise. A fun read and a nod to Helen for the scientific additions.

This is the 1st book I have read by these authors and I was hooked!

Such a different approach to the “birth” (of the vampyre),,, and the para earths are fascinating! I look forward to the next installments!

Care to see more?  Then just click on the appropriate link below and see what all the praise is about:

KINDLE USERS ($2.99):

https://www.amazon.com/Vampyre-Blogs-Coming-Home-Para-Earth-ebook/dp/B01MDO8SLO/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V3E8AEVCQ4EWAR5NTH9V 

NOOK USERS ($2.99):

APPLE AND ALL OTHERS E-READERS (INCLUDING PDF) CLICK HERE ($2.99):

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.

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

icy barbed wire

FRIENDS AND STRANGERS

     “We have company,” Nathan heard his friend murmur, and simply nodded.

     He’d heard the approach of the car but hadn’t bothered to look up.  His mind was solely focused on the barbed wire stained with blood.

     More than one being had passed this way earlier, but the snow had already covered the tracks.  The blood appeared to be human, but he had been fooled before.  Touching a finger to the barb, he found the blood was still wet.  Without hesitation he tasted it…

     Veronica was keeping an eye on two men kneeling by the barbed wire fence across the road.  Her original intention had been to stop and ask if they’d seen a little girl, but now then she saw the one in the full length parka reaching out to the barbed wire.  He touched one of the points and then began sucking his finger.

     Normally this wouldn’t have seemed all that odd, but it was the way he’d done it.  He hadn’t pulled his finger back quickly or yelped, as if he’d hurt himself.  Instead he’d moved slowly and had the most intense look on his face.  It was that, which really caught her attention.

     She’d seen that kind of expression before on some of her fellow officers.  It was one that said a clue had been found.

     Studying them carefully she noted that neither man appeared to be armed, nor were they dressed for hunting wild game.  ‘So what were they doing around here?’ she began to wonder when a figure appeared beside her.

    “They seem to be searching for something, don’t they, Sergeant?” the newcomer observed, quietly.

     Turning she saw the familiar profile of Jason Cloudfoot, the missing girl’s uncle.  He didn’t even glance at her.  His focus was solely on the two strangers across the road.

    “Or someone,” she whispered back and stepped forward, while keeping one hand close to her gun.  “Excuse me? Have either of you gentleman seen a little girl, around nine years old, come by here?”

    The two men exchanged a look and then the younger one stood up.  “No, but someone’s come through here recently and pricked themselves on this barbed wire,” he told them.

     ‘Oh dear God let this be a lead,’ she thought and quickened her pace, totally oblivious to the fact that Jason had not followed her.

     As soon as she reached the pair, she bent down and saw that indeed someone had cut themselves on one of the points.  At a guess, she suspected it was just the right height for a nine year old girl to try and climb through.

     Unfortunately, the wind and falling snow had already erased any footprints.   “Damn, if only we knew whether it was really Julie’s blood and not some poacher who cut through here,” she muttered.

     “Is that the girl’s name?” asked the younger of the two men.

     Veronica nodded and looked at him.  From beneath the hood of his long parka, she could see he had blonde hair and a pair of eyebrows that seemed to give him a perpetual scowl.  But the warmth in his eyes hinted at a much kinder and caring nature, she hoped.

     “Yes, it is,” she told him and then asked, “How long have you two been in this area?”

Instead of answering, the young man turned to his friend who replied, “Hmm… I’d say about an hour so.”

     “I see,” she nodded and fixed her gaze at the one in the parka.  “Neither of you are from around here, may I ask your names?”

     This time the older man spoke up.  “Well, in spite all the snow that is making my beard turn white, I am not Santa Claus.  My name is Professor Otto Hofstadter, and this is my research assistant, Nathan Steward.”

     The young man smiled and gave a slight bow, which made her wonder.  For someone who had to be her age, his manners seemed a bit old-fashioned.

     She smiled politely, but silently raised her guard again.  Why had the one called Nathaniel had to check with his friend about how long they’d been here?  She’d seen similar behavior between suspects when they were being questioned when they were trying to keep their stories straight.

     Eyes narrowed she asked them, “And neither of you saw anyone else during that time?”

     The younger man shook his head. “I was inside the trailer until about five minutes ago.”

     “Doing what?” she asked curiously.

     But before either man could answer Jason joined their little group saying, “Resting, from the look of things, Sergeant.”

     “And how do you know that?” she demanded, shooting an annoyed look at him.

   “Because while you were over here asking questions, I went inside the trailer,” the tall Native American replied.  “It was wrong of me to do so I know, but as a police officer you have to follow certain rules.  Whereas I am simply a man looking for his niece, and I don’t have time to worry about social niceties.”

      She just stared at him for a moment and then shook her head.  A part of her couldn’t blame him.  Julie was his responsibility and he was obviously very afraid for her.

     Sighing she turned back to Nathaniel and his friend and briefly caught the two men exchanging strange looks, but then it was gone.  But she was sure something had just passed between them.

    But before she could form her next question the professor asked, “How long has the girl been missing?”

    “Since this morning,” Jason answered, “She developed Chicken Pox two weeks ago and had to stay with me and my family, while her parents and older brothers headed back to sea.”

     “They went on a cruise?” the one called Nathan frowned.

     “No,” Jason corrected him, “My brother and his wife are marine biologists.  Then this morning I got a call that my brother’s research vessel had been caught in a storm and all contact had been lost four days ago.  The searchers had found nothing and were now turning their efforts into a… recovery operation.”

     “And the poor girl she overheard everything and took off crying; am I right?” Professor Hofstadter asked.

    “I’m afraid so,” Jason nodded.  “Julianna has gotten into the habit of running off into the woods when she’s upset.  She says it helps her calm down and forget her troubles.”

    Veronica watched Nathan’s eyebrows furrow, giving him a more intense look than before as he asked, “What kind of troubles does she have?”

     It was a good question, she had to admit.  No one had bothered to tell her back at the station why Julie had run off.  Whoever this fellow was a part of her was starting to like him.

     “My niece is a bit overweight and has become more sensitive about it recently.  She’d been teased a lot back at school and even my own children started giving her a hard time about it until I made them stop.  They hadn’t meant any real harm since she was their cousin, but her feelings had been hurt so she was still feeling very emotional.  Then when the call came she overheard and took off before any of us realized what had happened,” Jason explained.

     “The poor thing,” Veronica sighed, feeling more determined than ever to find the girl.  “Assuming the blood on the barbed wire is Julie’s…”

     “It is,” she heard Nathan murmur almost inaudibly, and did a double-take.

      Staring at him she said quietly, “I though you said you hadn’t seen anyone come through here?”

“I didn’t,” he replied and looked her straight in the eye.  “But every fiber of my body is screaming that it was her.”  Then he turned and stared out into the field.  “There’s a little girl out there and she needs to be found NOW!  It’s going to be dark within the hour and the temperature is dropping fast.”

     Hearing the same thoughts she’d had back at the station, struck a tone within Veronica.  “I take it you both want to help?”

    “Absolutely,” Professor Hofstadter, “Now since we already suspect she came this way, I suggest the four of us start searching from here and stay in contact by radio.”

     Veronica looked at him, “Do you have any on you?”

    “Back in the trailer, come.  You can call in more help from your station while we’re at it,” the older man suggested as they headed back across the road, while Jason and Nathan remained at the fence.

 trailer

      Nathan stared out at the white expanse.  A part of him had hoped that the girl’s uncle would have gone with Otto and the policewoman, so he could send out a small search party of his own.  But the man had stayed behind and was watching him out of the corner of his eye.  The fellow obviously suspected something.  He’d admitted to going inside the trailer to search for the girl.  Had he found the refrigeration unit with the supply of blood bags?

      As if knowing his thoughts the tall man said quietly, “You have been places where no other man has set foot before, haven’t you?”

    Nathan caught the unspoken hint in those words.  The first time he’d met Otto back a similar conversation had sprouted up between them in a similar manner.  He studied the man for a moment and noted his skin tone and long black hair.  Surely he was of Native American descent.  He also held himself in a manner that more than hinted at authority.

     “Yes,” he said finally.  “Do any of the stories or legends of your tribe speak of strange places that few have ever suspected were real?”

    “They do,” his companion nodded, “In fact I know them all.  You see it is my responsibility to know all things pertaining to my people: our traditions, medicines, and folklore.”

     Upon hearing this Nathan turned to his companion and looked up at him in surprise.  “You’re a shaman?”

The man nodded.  “And I know many things, including that such places as you and I have been discussing do exist.  One of my people from long ago, before we called ourselves Seneca, entered one of those places.”

     “By accident?”

     “No, he went by choice to find a way to save our people from a being that did not belong in this world.”

     “And did he succeed?” Nathan asked quietly.

    “Indeed he did,” said his new acquaintance with pride, “There was no way to send the thing back, but he brought an object with him that allowed us to imprison the creature and keep it from harming others ever again.”

     Nathan smiled and nodded, but a part of him was troubled.  “Was he the same when he came back from that other place?”

     “Yes, but he was more wise than before.  He had seen and learned much during his period in that other reality that was so much like ours, yet so different,” here the man paused to at him and added solemnly, “You were not as fortunate.”

     “Depends on who you ask,” Nathan replied with a sigh.  “My life has been extended far beyond that of any man.  But my body’s requirements changed.”

    “Yes, I found that which you keep cold and hidden from sight,” the one called Jason nodded.  “Tell me, did you enter that other place by choice?”

     “No, it happened purely by chance,” Nathan told him.  “I was a soldier, fighting to protect others.”

     “Drafted?”

     “Volunteered.”

     “Then you had a good heart,” his companion nodded, staring out into the empty field.

     Behind them Nathan could hear Otto and the police sergeant starting to head back their way.  “Our friends are about to rejoin us,” he murmured just loud enough for the other man to hear.

     “I know,” Jason replied without looking at him.  “Can you tell me one thing?  Did you find that your heart had changed after you came back?”

     Without pause, Nathan shook his head.  “No, I’m still the same man I was before.”

     Jason studied the stranger carefully.  Deep down he sensed that the man before him, was indeed a good person.  But still he had to be sure.  “Then please show me,” he told the fellow.  “If you have any gifts that can help me find my niece, please use them and know that you’re secret will be safe.  It getting dark and the snow is getting worse.”

     For several seconds nothing happened.

    Then he noticed the young man’s brow furrow in concentration.  A moment later, the fellow’s right hand disappeared into the sleeve of his jacket. This was followed by the arm of the jacket slowly ‘deflating’ as if the arm that occupied it was shrinking or withering away.

   As Jason stared in wonder, his sharp eyes detected movement within the rest of the coat, as if dozens of tiny creatures were racing down towards the man’s feet.

Suddenly a flurry of mice, the color of blood, began emerging from beneath the edges of Nathan’s floor-length parka.  The creatures began racing across the open field began to slowly spread out in various directions.

    “If they find any trace of your niece, I’ll know,” he heard the young man whisper as the last of the mice emerged and joined their brethren across the snow.

   “Thank you, my friend,” Jason smiled placed a hand on his companion’s shoulder, knowing full well that there was no longer an arm attached.

snowfall at night

TO BE CONTINUED…

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

A note from the author:  My original intention had been to complete this particular holiday story and release it as a free short story on Smashwords on Christmas.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints I was not able to create a cover or do most of the usual more serious editing that I wanted.  So instead, I’m presenting this tale in installments, that will continue until Christmas Day where the last part of the story will be told.  

I will do another in this style for next Christmas as well, thus starting my own tradition for you my readers.  But I will also be re-releasing this story in full as either a very small novella/short story on Smashwords complete with full editing, a proper cover, AND… hopefully some pen and ink illustrations to accompany the tale.  

I do hope you’ll enjoy this tale of the season which includes my first crossover.  What I mean by that is that this is the first time Nathaniel will be meeting some of the established characters from my first published novel “The Bridge”.  Those familiar with that novel will see some familiar faces here, but set sixteen years in the past before the events of the novel.  Will we see these characters and my vampyre Nathaniel meet again?  We’ll have to wait and see.  In the meantime, please enjoy this story.   The next installment will be up tomorrow followed by more each day until Christmas.  Enjoy…

town

A LOST GIRL

New Swindon, Connecticut, December 23rd, 1999

     “She’s only been missing for eight hours, Sarge,” said the patrolman, shifting his feet uneasily.  His superior had her back to him as she stared out the window, not moving.  Even the looser strands of red hair, sticking out of her ponytail seemed unnaturally still.  This made him uneasy.

      Ever since the summer she’d become solemn and hard.  She could also be more unpredictable than a volcano.  “Technically, it’s not a missing person case until twenty-four hours have passed,” he added nervously.

      Finally she broke her silence and replied in a quiet voice “The temperature is already dropping and it’s starting to snow.”

      “Everyone’s keeping an eye out for her already, Sarge,” he pointed out and immediately regretted it.

       Sergeant Ross spun around so fast that her pony tail wound up slapping her in the face, which did not seem to improve her mood.  “Keeping an eye out isn’t the same as actively searching for her!” she snapped.  “We’ve already got one girl missing with no leads.  I… we don’t want another.”

     The patrolman took a step back.  He’d heard that red-heads could have a fierce temper, but up until now he’d never believed it.  A part of him silently began praying for some kind of diversion that would allow him to leave the room as quickly as possible.

       Just then another voice joined the conversation.

      “No we don’t, Sergeant.”

      ‘Note to self,’ he thought breathing a sigh of relief, ‘Stop by the local church and drop a few extra dollars in the donation box.’  Then he turned his head ever so slightly and watched their boss enter the room.

     The man’s craggy features made him look like he was always scowling, so you always had to watch his manner and tone of voice.   But even then he could prove quite disarming and trip you up before you realized what had happened.  More than one suspect had fallen into that trap which was what had led to his appointment as head of the New Swindon Police Department seven years ago.

      Since his arrival, Chief Petersen had made a number of improvements in their department. They had doubled the number of officers and would soon be moving to a new and much larger facility.  For now they were still located in the town’s original station which was located in the middle of downtown.  He’d also brought in Sergeant Ross to act as his second-in-command, two years ago.

      Unlike their boss she had a manner that could be quite disarming, which had been a big help in dealing with the local youths.  In fact she’d proven to be one of the most effective officers in helping the more troublesome offenders.

      But ever since the night that girl disappeared from the Graham estate, she’d become harder and less patient, even with her subordinates.

      Just then, Petersen turned to him and said, “Why don’t you round up as many volunteers as you can to start looking for little Julie, Jenkins?” their boss told him.

      “Don’t you mean men, Chief?”

    “Women too,” his boss replied, “Remember we’re dealing with a little girl.  According to her Uncle Jason, she was pretty upset and might respond better to a woman being around.”

      “In that case I’ll head out as well,” Sergeant Ross announced, “Where was she last seen?”

      Petersen held up his hand to stop her before he answered.  “She was heading off into the woods to the east of the Cyrus Graham’s home.”

      Jenkins noted the look that passed between his two superiors and quickly left.

      He moved quickly down the hallway thinking, ‘Great, that place again.  We’re going to need a lot more people, the grounds there are huge.’

     Leaving the station, he headed for the local tavern just a block away.  There was always a good crowd there at this hour.  And most of clientele would have just gotten off work and would only be on their first or second drink.  He should be able to round up a good number of volunteers there, plus he could use a quick shot himself.  He’d also grab a little brandy to take with him just in case they needed it for the girl when and if they found her…

     “I can handle going out there, Roy,” Veronica told her boss evenly.  They were alone, so she knew it was okay to call him by his first name.  He had been her first partner back in New York City, ten years ago.  And in spite of the fifteen year difference in their ages, they’d become the best of friends.  So when he left to become chief of police way up here in northern Connecticut, she’d felt as if a part of herself had gone away.  Of course she’d had other partners, but it had never been the same.  Plus, the city seemed to become meaner over time.

      So when Roy came back to visit her two years ago, she was more than ready to accept his offer to become his second-in-command, in this this rural community of twenty-five thousand.  She’d been able to do so much good since coming here, but she’d also suffered some failures…

      “Are you sure?” her old partner asked gently, interrupting her reverie.

       Looking up at him, she nodded.

     Unfortunately, he didn’t seem convinced.  “I know you, Ronnie.  You’re still upset about what became of that girl who disappeared the night Cyrus Graham had that heart attack that put him in a coma.”

      “Yes, I am,” she admitted in a controlled voice.  “And I’m still hoping he’ll come out of it one day soon and be able to tell us what happened to Rachel.  But right now we have another girl missing out that way and she needs to be found before it gets too dark out.  The snow is already falling and we’re wasting time.”

      Roy studied her for a moment and nodded.  “All right, get over to Jason’s place.  It’s located on the grounds of Cyrus’ estate near that old stone bridge.  That’s where the girl took off from.”

      As she started for the door, he added, “Be careful out there, Rookie.  I don’t want you getting lost in the snow.”

    That made her smile.  Even after ten years, she still found the nickname amusing.  “I’ll be careful,” she assured him and left.

     Halfway down the hall she could feel his eyes watching her.  So she decided to give him some of his own medicine.

     Upon reaching the front doors she called over her shoulder, “Don’t wait up for me, Oldtimer!”

She barely caught the words, “Who are you calling old, you snot-nosed…?” as the door closed behind her.

*   *   *   *   *

snow-covered-barb-wire-fence-12653362

      Parked off to the side of the road at a rest stop, sat an old station wagon, with a box-like travel trailer attached.  A picnic table with benches stood nearby.  Both table and seats were covered in a layer of snow at least four inches deep.  But this was old snow which had lost some of its white luster.  Another layer was already building, giving both bench and table and icy layered cake effect.  Beyond the table a gradual slope rose up a dozen feet or so, before sinking downwards and disappearing among the trees.

    However, the driver of the vehicle was taking little notice of the wintery scene around him.  Instead, he was standing near the edge of the road where the asphalt ended and frozen ground began.  He was an older man, with curly greying hair, and a matching beard and moustache.  Standing up, he placed his hands on his slightly pronounced abdomen.  “Yes, most curious,” he said to himself in a heavy German accent.

      “Find something, Otto?” came a voice from the vicinity of his vehicle.

    Turning the driver smiled at the sandy-blonde young man who was stepping from the travel-trailer.  He had a slender build and was dressed in a heavy winter parka that stretched all the way down to the ground.  Although he had just emerged from the warm compartment, his face seemed awfully pink.

    “The sun is still up, albeit behind the clouds,” the older man called Otto remarked.  “I didn’t expect you to be up until after it had set.  Is something the matter, Nathan?”

    “I’m not sure,” the young man replied scanning their surroundings with his eyes.  “I… I felt a presence.”

     “Blonde, brunette or red-head?” Otto teased.

      But his friend didn’t answer.  Instead, he found Nathan staring into the open field across the road.  A barbed wire fence had been erected to keep interlopers out of the rows of corn that normally grew there.  On this day however, the field hosted only a wide expanse of snow that ended at the line of woods that bordered it on three sides.  The uniformity of the treetops was interrupted by the occasional sloping of a hill, where some pines rose above their brethren and silently stood watch over the open field.

      “What do you see?” Otto asked after several moments had passed.

     “Nothing, but I smell something,” Nathan replied and quickly made his way across the road.  Once there he started to examine the barbed wire carefully.

      From what Otto could see there was nothing unusual or odd about the fence, no wait.  One section seemed newer than the rest.  It was hard to notice at first, because the wire had built up a layer of rust over the years, but the posts it was attached to were fresher by comparison to the others.

     Suddenly Nathan stopped and knelt down in front of one section of the fence.  Reaching a hand out he touched one of the barbs and that’s when Otto saw it, a red glistening stain on one of the metal points.

     He barely remembered to check if the road was clear of oncoming traffic, before running over to join his friend.

White Wolf

     Emerging from among the trees a lone wolf slowly padded down the slope and stopped near the picnic table.  Its fur was snow white, which allowed the animal to blend in with his surroundings.  Watching the two strangers intently it slowly made its way over to where the station wagon and travel trailer stood.  Keeping behind the vehicles so as not to be noticed, the great beast began sniffing around.

     Both men’s scents were unlike anything it had encountered before, yet there was also something familiar about their smells.  Remembering its mission, the wolf began sniffing around the area. In particular is spent a lot of time around the trailer where the younger man had emerged.  Besides his odd scent, the beast also detected another familiar smell, human blood.

     Just then the breeze picked up and began to come from across the road.  Immediately, the animal raised its head.  Its delicate nose had detected another scent, one the animal knew very well.

     The wolf eyed the two men suspiciously and was about to approach them when its sensitive ears detected the approach of a vehicle.  Looking up, the beast saw the car in question had red and blue lights on top.  Without hesitation, the snow-white animal quickly made its way back up and over the slope.

     A few seconds later, a new figure appeared.  It was a man, with long black hair, and high strong cheekbones.  Without hesitation he made his way down the steep incline with all the sure-footedness of a deer.

     He reached the bottom just as the patrol pulled up behind the travel trailer.  As soon as the driver began to emerge from the vehicle, he immediately recognized the flame-red pony-tail trailing down her back.  Delighted, he was about to call out to her when he noticed one of the two men across the road do something, disturbing.

TO BE CONTINUED…

An Important Announcement About “The Vampyre Blogs” Novel Release Date…

For those of you who don’t already know, I started attending the California State University at Monterey Bay in August and the workload had been fairly manageable, until recently.  Things are heating up and I have less and less time to work on “The Vampyre Blogs”.  I had planned on getting the latest draft finished, edited, beta-read, etc. so I could have it out in time for this Christmas.

 Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  I’m afraid I’m one of those authors will not release a book until it’s had all those things done to it.  Currently, I’m still trying to finish the 2nd draft and I’m still not entirely happy with the piece.  Plus I haven’t even started on a cover for the book.  I do have this, which I made on my computer.
However, I’m not totally sold on this version really.  I’d prefer to try and do a soft pastel piece like I did with my other two novels.  But instead of doing the entire cover in soft pastel, I’d like to create more of a background and then super-impose the image I have on top of the background.  In short, I’d like a nice blend of the two and that’s going to take time.

All this is bad enough, but there is also the issue of the holidays getting closer and closer.  I’d still need to get the novel to my beta-readers, but they’re going to be busy with family stuff like cooking, visiting, and shopping.  I don’t feel right asking them to take time out of their schedules to read the book and give me their feedback.  That wouldn’t be right.

So I’m going to continue to finish the 2nd draft and getting it edited and whatnot over the holidays.  Then I’ll be sending beta-versions out in January and doing another draft after that.  I hope to have it all done my March, but I won’t be releasing it then.  Instead the book will come out in late October to coincide with Halloween.  Why wait until then?  Because the story begins in early fall and ends just around Halloween, thus making it a a more seasonal novel.

Now for anyone worried they have to wait for more Nathaniel and company until then, never fear because I’m still going to be posting more mini-stories here.  Plus, I’m working on a special ‘free’ short story for this Christmas that will involve Nathaniel and several characters from my other novels in the Para-Earth Series.  Anyone who’s read “The Bridge” or “The Ship” will be pleased to see some old friends as well as our favorite Civil War vampyre.

I’ll be releasing the short story through Smashwords which carries e-book formats for all the new e-readers and laptops people will be getting as gifts.  You’ll find Mobi (for Kindle), Nook, Apple, Sony,  Phones, and even plain good old PDF for those who just have a computer/laptop.  And in the spirit of the season, the story will be “FREE”.  So stay tuned.  I’ll be announcing more as the day draws near.

Finally, I want to also let you all know that Nathan will not be a one-book wonder.  I intend to keep him going for some time.  When you’ve got someone who’s over a 150 years old, you got a lot of room for many tales.  I’m even considering making an anthology filled with short stories from different eras he’s lived though.  But that’s a little ways down the road.  For now, I’ll leave you with the following list of novels I’m working on and their intended release dates for the next 2-3 years:

October/December 2015 “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”

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

Coming Mid-2016 “In The Shadow Of The Door – Book 1”

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

Coming December, 2016, “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

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

Coming Mid-2017 – “In The Shadow Of The Door – Book 2”

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

Coming in December 2017, “Harlequin House”

When Alex Hill was only twelve years old he went inside the most haunted place on the planet as part of a team of paranormal investigators from the university his older cousin Rick was attending.
  Within those walls he watched most of the team die one by one, and barely got out with his sanity intact.  He swore nothing would ever make him go back.
Tonight he will enter the place the very place that has haunted his dreams for the last twenty years, to save his father. Will he be as fortunate this time?

OTHER BOOKS IN THE PARA-EARTH SERIES THAT ARE AVAILABLE NOW FOR ALL E-READERS AND IN TRADE PAPERBACK:

 

THE BRIDGE

Alex Hill buried his psychic talents for eighteen years. But with the scream of tires and twisting metal all this changes. Upon learning his girlfriend Police Sergeant Veronica Ross was nearly run down by two teens he becomes concerned. But when he learns both the driver and passenger had been dead for almost twelve hours when they nearly ran her down, he knows what he must do…
*NOTE: You can sample the book for free at:
 

THE SHIP

What starts as a simple surfing lesson, turns into a struggle for survival for billionaire heiress Cassandra Elliott and her new love interest the Seneca shamaness Julie Cloudfoot.
Cassandra is knocked off her board by an unseen assailant who leaves a terrifying gash in her wetsuit, along with a small red mark on her leg. Soon terrifying visions of a ghost ship begin haunting the heiress’ dreams. She also begins to find herself strangely drawn to the sea whenever a strange fogbank appears in the distance.
Something hiding within the miasma, but what does it want from her, and what connection does the entity have with the legendary “Lost Colony of Roanoke” and the tribe of Tuscarora Indians who Julie is distantly related to…