Tag Archive: Allan Krummenacker



This week I got 8 people lined up as “Beta-Readers” for my second novel “THE SHIP”.

For those not familiar with beta-readers, they are basically test readers for you book.  They will read the story and give you feedback on what they thought of it.  But what kind of feedback am I talking about?

Well this may vary from writer to writer.  For me I’m looking for the following feedback:

1-Did they like the story? (this is a given, I have to know whether or not the story is even working for my readers in the first place)

2-How was the pacing?  Did the story drag a lot, or was it too-fast paced and hard to keep up with?

3-Were the characters likable and did you come to care about them?  Did they intrigue you?  Did you want to see more of them in the future?  (I’m working on an ongoing series where I will rotate some of the cast from time to time)

4-Spelling errors?  (I’ve done my best but some things will still slip past me so a few more sets of eyes doesn’t hurt)

5-Grammatical issues?  (I’ve chosen my team from a variety of people including a few authors and grammar nazis who will be more than willing to point out areas of concern)

6-Did the story flow well?  Were there areas where there were contradictions in who was where during an action sequence?  Was there an idea that got confused and hard to follow?

7-FINALLY: What did they think of the piece overall?

This is a lot of questions I know, but this is the book’s testing ground.  One of your last chances to work out the bugs and iron out any problems before you unleash your work on the public.  And trust me, sometimes the public can be unforgiving and harsh.  Remember, most of them will be putting out money to buy your work, so make sure you strive to put out a really good product.  Your reputation is on the line whenever you put out a book.  Never slack off on quality or it’ll hurt the sales of your next book.

As I mentioned earlier in this entry, I’m doing a series.  So one of the things I made sure to do was get at least a couple of beta-readers who did NOT read the first book.  People are not always going to buy your books in order, so make sure you keep each story neat and self-contained that anyone can jump into whatever part of your series they happen to spot.  Give enough references to past events from earlier books so intrigue them enough to maybe want to check out the earlier books, but not detract from the one in their hands at that moment.

Beta-Readers can help your work tremendously.  And like editors, you don’t have to take EVERY suggestion they make to improve the book.  You want to keep faithful to your own vision, but weigh the pros and cons for each change.  Some may prove to be a master-stroke, while others may not.  After all beta-readers will not know your long-term vision for your book and have all the insights you do.  So be careful how you take their advice.

Finally, always be gracious even if they give advice you don’t agree with. Remember, they’re trying to help your book become something even better.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


THE SHIP - COVER Final

That’s right I’m looking for 6-8 Beta-Readers to scope out book 2 “The Ship”. Now please read this entire entry carefully before volunteering.
1-The book will be ready in MS Word or PDF for your perusal
2-I need you to be able to finish reading it and get back to me with your comments, concerns, and hopefully some praise by April 30th of this year
3-I’m looking for honest feedback on the story itself (good, bad, holds your interest or not)
4-Overall grammar and punctuation, does it read well.
5-You will each receive an e-book or a signed paperback of the final product as an extra thank you as well as being thanked in the Acknowledgement page of the book itself.

The reason for the April 30th deadline is so I will have most of May to make whatever adjustments I need to in order to release the book by the Memorial Day weekend, where I will be attending Baycon (a sci-fi, horror, fantasy convention) as a guest panelist. I want to unveil the book there and hopefully make a bunch of sales on the spot.

Thanks. Remember I’m only planning on 6-8 people, if I don’t choose you don’t be offended. I can only go over so many comments and keep track of so many folks. Thanks so much everyone.


“Welcome to Pointer, West Virginia”

 For those who have never heard of this place, do not fret. It doesn’t exist.  I made it up to be the setting for “The Vampyre Blogs”.  A good setting is extremely important to any story.  Your story’s setting can shape your character’s personality depending on how long they’ve lived there.  For instance, if they’ve been there a short time there’s the getting to know the place and the people.  Certain action sequences may take place in particular areas.  The town’s history may come into play.  If they’ve lived there all their lives, they should know a lot of people, have a reputation (are they considered cool, friendly, or weird by the other people?  Etc., etc…)  Already you can see the importance of your setting and you should know the place at least in your own mind, so you can convey it to the readers.  I don’t care if it’s a real place here on Earth or another world.  You need to become familiar with where your story is taking place.

I’ve touched on settings for stories in the past, but “Pointer, West Virginia” is very different for me. You see, I’ve never been to West Virginia.  I do not have any personal knowledge of what the place is like.  I don’t know how people talk there, what kind of accents they have, etc.  

Creating a fictional place doesn’t have to be super complicated, but whatever setting you build has to be believable.  In my case, I like to blend a bit of reality into my settings.  When I created New Swindon in Connecticut, for my first book “The Bridge”, I was familiar with the area where I placed it.  My grandmother had lived in Salisbury Connecticut for years and I became familiar with some of the other nearby towns.  I blended the characteristics of several of them to create New Swindon to make it seem more real and authentic.  I would refer to certain landmarks, roads and the things that actually do exist in real life.  This allowed me to make my town more believable and real.  

 In my second soon-to-be-released book, “The Ship”, I used an actual setting from real life that I was very familiar with.  However, I also took steps to make sure only my characters were fictional and that they blended right in with their real-life setting.  I had the knowledge of Santa Cruz and Seacliff to make this happen smoothly and very believable.  (Remember the old saying:  write what you know about).

So why am I using West Virginia, a place I’ve never been too, as the location for my third novel?  History!  West Virginia is steeped in it, especially when it comes to the Civil War, which is the time-frame my main character Nathaniel lived in.  So how did I approach this situation to so

So what did I do?  Simple, it was time for a little research on the internet and here is some of what I learned:

-West Virginia was created as a direct result of the Civil War.  Most of Virginia sided with the south during that turbulent time, except for the section now known as West Virginia.  They were not inclined to enforce slavery or returning runaway slaves, and decided to break off from the rest of Virginia.  There was a lot of tension when this happened, and there were a number of famous battles that took place within the newly formed state.

So right there I had a rich source of background to play with for my new novel.  However, I still had a number of obstacles to overcome for the story.  Where in West Virginia should I place my fictional town?  I checked over some county maps and saw where towns and cities were located and took notes.  I wanted an area that didn’t already have an actual town, so I could refer to the real places as being nearby.  Plus I wanted a location that was near the disputed Virginia/West Virginia border.  There were some hostilities there, and I had planned for my town’s history to include a bunch of raiders (southern sympathizers) who crossed the border and nearly wiped out Pointer’s population in one terrible “Night Of Fire”.  Could such a thing have happened?  Absolutely, because I checked up on atrocities that took place during the Civil War.  Both the North and South committed atrocities, some extremely barbaric.  So right there, I had foundation to create such a background history for the town.

I also, checked to find out what are the more prominent religions in the area, so I could populate the the town with a churches and denominations.  Plus I researched, what kinds of agriculture and commercial businesses are most prominent and where they are located in West Virginia.

 Now I know a lot of this sounds complicated and detailed, but I simply made a few notes to myself.  The object was to be able to make ‘general references’ to real aspects of the area, to make my fictional town blend in and seem more real.  That’s all.  I won’t be dedicating entire chapters to detailed descriptions, mostly it will be comments and points of reference made by the characters.  I even found where a community college is located in the county where I am placing my town, so one of the secondary characters can be an instructor there.
 

I know a lot of my readers may have never stepped foot in West Virginia, but there will also be some how do live there and I want them to feel like I treated their state fairly.  I try to make the settings enjoyable and fun to think about.  Who knows, some people may even want to visit them one day to see what it’s like for themselves.  It depends on the picture you paint, so to speak.

A few of your might be asking, how much time did I spend on researching the area?  Well, I’d say I spent a total of maybe 10-12 hours over a several day period to get my vision for “Pointer”.  I checked Google for images so I can describe buildings and streets, I checked maps for counties, I looked up the state’s governing body and typical law enforcement agencies, as well as the average population of towns so I could populate mine with the right number of civil servants and local government.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I checked out some of the state’s history.  Again I didn’t go into great detail, but simply made notes I could refer back to in order to make the town fit in and seem real.  Even the name of my fictional town comes from actual state history.  In May 1788 Fort Donally was attacked early in the morning hours by a group of indians led by Cornstalk.  The fort housed soldiers, wives and children.  One of the defenders who helped keep the gates blockaded and fired through a hole in the gate, was a slave named Dick Pointer.  For his courage and loyalty during the fight, he was given his freedom AND a piece of land with a cabin that people built just for him.  A rare honor at the time.  Upon his death in 1827 he was buried with military honors in Lewisburg West Virginia.

For my story, I’m going to have it that one of the children who saw him in action that day helped found my fictional town and named it after his hero.  A town named for a former slave would understandably be targeted by the raiders in my story and make it more believable.
So there you have it.  Here’s another one of my methods for making a believable fictional setting.  What are some of yours?  Please share in the comments below or give us links to a blog where you may have discussed your style of doing things.
I hope this entry has helped some of you.  And as always, take care and keep writing.


Well gang, I’ve got one week left in my Kickstarter for getting “The Ship” professionally edited. Right now it’s sitting at 55% funded. $330.00 have been pledged, but there’s still another $270.00 needed to make the goal.

Will it happen? I don’t know. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to the drawing board and try to do the best I can with my backup team and the release date will be pushed back again. Not my favorite option, but whatever will be, will be.

If you want to make a pledge there’s still 7 days left. No monies change hands unless the goal is met. Remember, pledging is like reserving your own copy of the book. Everyone who pledges will be receiving either an e-version or a paperback depending on the level you can pledge.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/975056676/editing-my-2nd-novel-the-ship

THE SHIP - COVER Final


“The Vampyre Blogs” are here. Click below to get your first glimpse into the life of the first vampire from the Para-Earth Series.  Feedback and comments are welcome and encouraged.

http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-brief-introduction-to-this-blog.html

Apple MacBook Pro laptop


“HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL”

     No updates on Kickstarters, or discount books today gang.  Just a few thoughts on this holiday season.

 

     This will be our first Christmas without my father-in-law, and I’ll admit a part of me is a bit apprehensive about it.  But not all that much really.  There is still going to be the family gathering this weekend, where I will see a lot of familiar faces and a few new additions.  My wife’s ‘not-so-little cousins’ have been growing their families and I will be meeting some of those children for the first time.  There will also be others I have not seen in a long while whose presence will be very welcome.  

   

     Although a lot has changed, the love and closeness we all share will still be there, a lot of this came from my father-in-law.  So in his own way, he will be there too.  And I’m really looking forward to that.  

 

     I know the holidays can be a rough time for those who’ve lost someone due to their passing, or just because of distance.  But remember, every person who touches your life with love leaves a bit of themselves with you that cannot be taken away.  That part is yours to keep always.  It’s there to help you in good and bad times.  An old joke that still makes you smile, a gift that was given that you still have, or more importantly fond memories.  

 

   Memories are something we make with others that will always be with us.  Nothing take those away.  We may not always be able to think about them on the spot, because of life’s craziness.  But they are there and keep a part of us warm at all times.  

 

    So this holiday season, try to make a lot more memories… really good ones.  Share love, a laugh, a thought, a dream.  These are gifts not only to yourself but others and can be the most treasured thing you could ever give.

 

    I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to do another post before Christmas or not, but there will be more before this year is over.  I’ll probably be talking about writing and some new developments on the horizon at that time.  

 

     Until then, enjoy the holiday season and may you all have blast building some great memories of the season to carry with you always.

 

    Your friend,

 

    Allan Krummenacker

Writing and Rubik’s Cubes…


Okay fellow writers, here’s a question for you all.  How many of  you find yourselves working and reworking a scene because something just isn’t right?  In your mind, you know what you’d like to happen, but something just doesn’t seem to be working right.  You make a change here, then a slight a tweek there and suddenly everything goes KAFLOOEY!    You suddenly hit a dead end, or the entire plot has taken a detour to No-wheres-ville.  When this happens to me, I get the same feelings I had whenever I tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I know all the parts and where I think they should go, but they’re just not in the right spot.  And trying to get them in their proper place can be a nightmare some days.

 

Now this has happened to me on a number of occasions.  Some people tell me to have an outline, but that never works for me.  Why?  Because my characters start going in other directions by saying or doing things I hadn’t originally planned.  Admittedly I let them get away with it, but only if what they’re doing seems to be working better than what I originally planned.  Sometimes this works, but not always.  When it doesn’t I do one of two things:  I’ll delete it completely and try again OR  I’ll save the scene in a separate folder on my computer.  You never know when an unused scene can be useful later in your present story, or could wind up being perfect for another book entirely.

 

Personally, I kind of like it when I can just delete the scene because then I get to point and laugh at my characters saying, “See?  I told you this wasn’t going to work… NEENER-NEENER.”   Unfortunately, I tend to do this out loud and get some really strange looks from anyone within a 30 foot radius.    It’s at this point my unseen characters got to point and laugh right back at me, which is really annoying because they know I still need them and can’t kill them off.  Damn, my creations can be annoying at times.

 

Anyway, getting back to my original point.  Writing a scene can be quite frustrating and difficult at times.  But, there are many ways   of tackling this problem:

-You might change who’s in the scene, keep the ones who are most poignant and add someone else from the cast.  This can change the tension levels and the entire feel of the moment.

-Change the location where the action is happening.  Maybe the setting is the problem and you can get more out of a different location.

-Is a major piece of information about to be revealed in this scene?   If so how much of it do you really have to unveil at this moment?  Maybe you should only reveal a portion of the information.  You can whet the appetite of both the characters and the audience with this method.  By doing this your characters can go off half-cocked, which can make for some very interesting scenes as they make any number of mistakes or jump to wrong conclusions.  I personally like this because the character who isn’t perfect, and learns from their mistakes, is someone the audience can really relate to sometimes.  On the other hand the characters can aware that something is still missing and we can follow their efforts to learn more which can lead to some very tense and exciting scenes as well.

 

So, don’t be afraid to tear apart a scene that’s frustrating you.   Try some really different ways of reworking it.  And if you find yourself still hitting a wall, ask yourself  if the scene is truly relevant in that particular point of the story.  Maybe it can be replaced by an entirely different scene that can serve a similar purpose.    Who knows, you may wind up with something that opens new avenues for your plot that are even more interesting than what you originally had in mind.

 

What other methods or tricks have you come up with?  I’m sure everyone reading this would be  interested because we’re all trying learn from one another when it comes to writing.  So please leave your experiences and suggestions down in the comments section below.

 

And for the record,I did finally defeat the dreaded Rubik’s Cube.  Mind you I did not remove the decals and change them around (which is something my wife did when she was kid).  Nor did I take the cube apart and reassemble it so the colors matched up.  What did I do?  Simple, I spray painted the entire thing silver and used it for a paperweight.  A very creative solution, don’t you think?

Halloween Begins Here and Now!


****TRICK OR TREAT TIME BEGINS TODAY****

From now until November 1st, you can get a e-copy of my paranormal/mystery “THE BRIDGE” for free on Smashwords.

 

Just click on the link below and use this Coupon Code: TR27S

 

That’s all you need to do to get your free copy in any of the following formats:  Nook, Sony, Apple, or PDF for those who don’t have an e-reader and just like to read on your laptop or desktop computers.

 

And if you already have a copy, tell everyone you know so they can take advantage of this offer.

 

Remember this is Book#1 in the Para-Earth Series.  Book #2 “THE SHIP” is coming out this December just in time for Christmas so get to know some of the characters and the wonders of a totally new take on the parallel word concept.  Its unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

 

4 and 5 star reviews can be found at Smashwords, and Amazon if you’re still not certain and would like to hear what others have said.

 

Come check it out and get your copy at the link below:

 

thebridge_allankrummenacker

Short Story Sunday….


Today, instead of a one of my usual posts I decided to change gears and try something a little different.  I thought some of you might like to see a sample of some of my other writings that are not related to the Para-Earth Series.  So here’s a piece I did for my creative writing class a couple of semesters ago.  The premise was to write a scene where something unexpected happens.  Well, I went beyond that and created an entire short story.  I hope you enjoy it.

BAD HAIR DAY

By

Allan Krummenacker

Jane couldn’t believe it, the call had come.  They had wanted to see her the next day.  She had spent the previous evening going through her clothing for just the right look.  Glancing over at the corner of her bedroom, she could still see the pile of rejects she’d tossed aside during her quest.  They seemed to glare at her with resentment for being treated so poorly.  She promised to give them all a good washing and to put them away nicely when she got back.  Right now, she had to get ready.

Quickly she moved over to the sink in the bathroom to fix her make-up.  Everything had to be just right or she’d be sunk.  Everything was lined up just as she had left it the night before.  Lipstick, eye-liner, blush… all of it was just waiting there for her.  Then she looked up and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and cried out in horror.  Clutching her chest she backed up into the wall, eyes wide, mouth gaping… BED-HAIR!  But not just ordinary bed-hair, no this was possibly the worst case on record.

“Why, why today of all days?” she wailed and sank to the floor.  The interview was in an hour.  What was she going to do?   Pulling herself together she grabbed a brush and went at the tangled mess with a vengeance.

No good.  Instead of taming the wild look, her frantic efforts had only made things worse.  She looked like a poodle who’d tried pissing on a power transformer.  Dropping the brush she made a dash back to the bedroom in search of a hat.  That might at least help calm things down.  She searched high and low but only found a baseball cap.  That wouldn’t do… or would it?  No, with her luck, the interviewer was probably a fan of a rival team.  No she’d have to think of something else.

Maybe she could shave her head and say she’d been going through treatments?  No that would be disrespectful of people like her sister-in-law in Tennessee.  Not that she ever cared for the woman, but still.

“What am I going to do?” she moaned and sank down on the bed.

She could see it all now.  As soon as she walked in the receptionist would take one look at her and hide behind the desk.  One of the other candidates would smirk and ask her long it took her to get her finger out of the electric socket.

Or even worse, they might take one look at her and ask security to remove the homeless bag-lady that had wandered in.

Oh what was she going to do?

Just then there was a knock at the front door.  Groaning she started heading towards it while the pit of despair grew larger and larger in her mind.  Then suddenly she stopped.  What if it was someone who could help her?  Maybe it was one of her friends?  A fairy-godmother, come to render aid in her hour of need.  Hour… she looked up at the clock, only 45 minutes until the interview.

Panicking she raced to the door and found a man in a UPS uniform standing on her stoop.  He had a pleasant face and was holding a package, along with a clipboard and pen.  “Unnnghhh….” was all she managed to say as he greeted her warmly.

“Oooo… that’s some hairstyle you have there, Miss,” he chuckled.  “I haven’t seen a case of bed-hair that bad since my days in cosmetology school.”

Jane perked up. “You did hair?”

“Well yeah but…”

Grabbing him by the hand Jane hauled him inside and closed the door and locked it.  Leading him to the bathroom she babbled an incoherent explanation of what was at stake and how she needed his help.  Then she handed him the scissors and comb and told him to get to work.  If he was fast enough, she’d still have time to make the appointment.

The man tried talking but she told him they could talk after he was done.  There was an edge to her voice that she hoped would block any further protests.  It worked.

With a resigned shrug, the fellow went to work.  Ten minutes later he stepped back and let her take a good look in the mirror.  Jane screamed.  The sides were uneven, her bangs were lopsided, it was worse than before.  She hadn’t thought such a thing was possible.  “I thought you said you went to Cosmotology School!” she cried.

“I did,” the man explained backing up.  “But I sucked at it, that’s why I wound up getting a job with UPS.”

The wail of frustration Jane uttered took them both by surprise.  She never knew she could hit such a high note with her voice.

As the for the failed-hairdresser, the he stumbled backwards into her bedroom and wound up tripping over the pile of discarded clothes.

Jane watched in horror as the world slowed down and the poor guy fell backwards and cracked the back of his head against the corner of the nightstand and then the floor.  He did not get back up.  Nor did he move.

Eyes wide Jane started to let out an unholy, “OH MY GO…”

“THAT’S GOOD, WE’VE SEEN ENOUGH!” a voice from out of nowhere announced.

Turning toward the front of the stage, Jane stared out at the darkness where the director, the producer and the playwright were sitting.  “Could I do that last part again?” she asked, “I don’t think I really captured the mood when Tony went down.”

The director waved a reassuring hand, “Don’t worry.  You were great.   In fact you’re exactly the person we’re looking for.  You’ve got the part.  Why don’t you gather your things and we’ll see you back here tomorrow at 2 o’clock.”

Delighted with this turn of events, Jane squealed with glee and rushed off the stage.

Once she was gone the trio slowly made their way onto the stage and glanced down at the still unmoving figure in the postal carrier outfit.  “It worked,” said the producer.

“I can’t believe it,” said the director.

Only the playwright smiled, “Well, you won’t have to worry about your little blackmailer anymore.  It will be ruled as an accidental death.  See, I told you I know how to write killer scenes.”


Starting today (9/15/13) and ending midnight next Sunday (9/22/13), the e-book version of  my paranormal/mystery novel “The Bridge” is available for just 99 cents on Smashwords and Amazon.  

 

Smashwords covers Nook, Apple, Sony, and other e-readers as well as PDF copies of the book.

 

Amazon has the Kindle version.  So take advantage of this opportunity while you can.  Ghosts, police, psychics, shamans and a 300 year old bridge with a terrifying secret awaits you within the pages of this book.  This novel is also the first in the Para-Earth book series.  Book 2, “The Ship” will be coming this December and will follow two of the main characters in “The Bridge” as they journey to the west coast to bury one of their own.

 

Just click on the appropriate link below to get the e-book version that works best for you.  And if you already have a copy, please help spread the word of this one-week special deal.  Thank you.

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/272613

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Bridge-Para-Earth-Series-ebook/dp/B00B86DR9G

thebridge_allankrummenacker

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