Archive for November, 2017



When it comes to being thankful my first thought every day is about having Helen in my life.  She’s  my wife, my heart’s desire, my collaborator, and especially my best friend.

But I have many other things I am grateful for starting with the day I was brought to Joyce and Gerard Krummenacker as a foster baby (the only one they ever kept), to this moment here before my computer.  Perhaps someday I’ll share more of those personal tales, but on this day I simply want to focus on the past year.

In October of 2016, I got the call for an interview with the County of Santa Cruz and a week later I was offered the job.  I was still attending classes at CSU Monterey Bay at the time and had to sacrifice my GPA by going down in flames in two of them gradewise.  I could have simply dropped those classes but at the time we were living in campus subsidized housing and I was under the  impression that I still had to be a full-time student to keep that place so I bit the bullet.  I later found out that our “Lease” would have still been honored all the way through to May of 2017, but no one had told us that.  Still, things worked out.  We found our current apartment in early January, and were offered to sign a lease the day we looked at it.  This was after putting in application after application and hoping to hear something on a number of other units, only to receive silence in return.  Not even a polite, “We’ve chosen other renters but thanks for applying.”

I started my job on November 7th, 2016, got through my six months of probation and am solidly in with the county.  We’ve been able to get by on our own these last 12 months and have health insurance, dental, and a slowly building checking account.   Helen and I were finally feeling more stable for the first time in almost 10 years (another tale for another entry).

Then in the last month, after a succession of interviews and false starts, Helen landed her dream job as an Accounting Technician with the County of Santa Cruz.  Suddenly, the future looks more bright and hopeful for us than ever before.  We get to spend more time together since we work in the same building and take the long commute together every day.  We’re also learning ways to avoid the heavier evening traffic by sometimes bringing dinner or a picnic with us so we can eat in peace.  By the time we hit the road an hour or so later, the majority of the uglier traffic is gone.  We even do some shopping sometimes and come home with plenty of time to kick back and enjoy ourselves.  Just last night, we stopped for pizza and then wandered down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk area and walked along the pier.  There we met nice people, listened to the waves, and watched sea lions splashing in the dark waters below.  We used to do this a lot when we lived in Santa Cruz some five years ago.  Now we’re able to do it again and its wonderful.

So much has changed.  We’re actually looking to build a retirement – something we were never sure we’d ever be able to do down the road.   Plus, we’re thinking of looking into getting a place in Santa Cruz again, which would cut down our commute considerably.  We’d thought about this before but just on my salary it would have been difficult.  But now, with her income we stand a real chance.

With fingers crossed, and a firm determination, this time next year we’ll have even more to be thankful for.  In the meantime, we will finish getting our next book out on the 12th Night of Christmas (January 6th, 2018).  We have high hopes of one or two more releases next year as well, but we’ll see how things go.

In the meantime, thank you all for your continued support and visits, and may all who celebrate this day have a very Happy Thanksgiving…

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Yesterday I had an epiphany about my writing and the entire Para-Earth Series… it’s been a collaboration all along.  From “The Bridge” to “The Ship” to “The Vampyre Blogs -Coming Home”, the entire journey has been one gigantic collaboration with my wife/best friend Helen.  And I am planning on putting her name on the first two books.

Why didn’t I do this sooner?  And how did I not realize it was a collaboration all along?  Because I thought a collaboration strictly meant two people were doing the actual writing, but that’s not the only way a collaboration works.  Ideas, suggestions, helping shape characters, plot, settings, events… all of that goes into a collaboration as well.

So even though I did all the writing in “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, Helen gave me so much guidance like helping shape the characters personalities, questioning their actions, being my sounding-board for ideas I had but didn’t know where to go with them until she suggested details or options I never considered which suddenly put the story back on track again… you name it.  To me, she has been just as much a part of those books as I’ve been.

Now, some of you might be wondering how did this realization come to me?  Well, it had been bouncing around in my mind for some weeks now but yesterday is when it finally clicked into place for me.  As many of you should know by now, Helen just recently got offered a job at Santa Cruz County.  Well, yesterday was her Orientation Day and she officially starts work on Monday as an Accounting Technician (I’m so proud).

Well, when my day ended we were driving home and I started sharing with her that I was working on a new short story for our other blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” (where we post brand new short stories involving characters from our book “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” Link: https://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/   *NOTE: Characters from “The Bridge” and “The Ship” have also appeared there and will be showing up again soon so keep an on that site).   Some time ago I had decided that Lisa (one of the main characters) was a gifted psychic.

*Note: Lisa is often mistaken for a Goth, but she merely loves old clothing styles and vibrant colors.  She’s actually into clothing design and cool make-up, including special effects*

Mind you she is not nearly as strong as Alex, Cassandra, or the Baby from “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  Lisa’s talents show up in the form of glimpses into the near future in dreams, as well as being sensitive to strong emotions both past and present, but she’s only starting to realize it.

Anyway,  I was working on a short story with her that takes place between the end of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and its sequel “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” which is currently  being written along with several other projects.

*SPOILERS FOR THE SHORT STORY AHEAD: Lisa’s been having dreams where she senses the danger from the first book is not completely over and that more darkness lies ahead for not only her and those she loves, but the entire town where she and Nathan live.  But that was as far as I had gotten when Helen suddenly sprang to life and suggested a scene in the waking world that indicates there is indeed a threat.  A certain modern-day life form, that is similar to the Para-Earth life-form that makes our character Nathan a vampyre, are fleeing the area.  Upon seeing this, Lisa realizes there is something coming prompting her to see if Nathan has returned or not.  This will tie into the opening scene of the 2nd novel in the Vampyre Blogs section of the Para-Earth Series.

END OF SPOILERS:

As soon as Helen made this suggestion the rest of the story came to me in a wave.  I could clearly see the path forward and immediately asked her to help give more life to the characters of Lisa and her best friend Marisa who also will appear in the story.  She naturally agreed, having taken a crack at writing both girls recently for a story in our upcoming anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” coming in January 2018.

Now, this has been just one of many examples of how a collaboration can work when it comes to writing.  I have many more to share, including one with my other Collaborator Rich Caminit which I will share in my next post.  Plus others that I will continue to share down the road.  For now, I’m going to leave you all for now, before this entry turns into the length of a novella.  But please give thoughts to other forms of collaboration you may have encountered and please share them with all of us in the comment section below.  As I’ve already said, collaborations take many forms and the roles each collaborator takes is not simply one but many, and this is why I feel collaborations are something that should sometimes be embraced whole-heartedly.

And on a final note, don’t be afraid to share the credit for a project.  As Samuel Goldwyn the great movie producer once said…

When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.

Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.


I’m letting one of my co-authors take the helm here at the blog today.  So allow me to introduce one of my oldest friends and partner-in-crime Rich Caminiti, as he shares with you his own wisdom about writing on a budget.  Take it away, Rich…

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    Welcome my friends, and thank you to Allan for letting me write my piece for you. In his last musing, he spoke of his computer woes not only about his desktop but his laptop as well.

      Well, I too seem to have shared the same fate. But wait, I’m getting to my point! I had to wait and pick up a new laptop which some of you may have seen my post about setting it up. (To a computer technician, to get this perfected to our satisfaction takes forever!)

     When Allan needed Microsoft Office I surmise and Helen had told him about WPS Office which cost him nothing. A very excellent deal! Five second ad and all.

     I also told my cohort that I could give him Office 2016 Pro for free, he thought about it for not even a moment and said that he wished to use WPS Office. While appreciative of my offer, he did not want to advertise something that he didn’t use himself. That’s integrity. So, I offered up an alternative to him that would forego the nag screen (the ad screen). That alternative is called OpenOffice.

    When OpenOffice was created by Sun Inc., for those who remember, it was pretty much to get back at Microsoft. It appears the two were in a battle about Sun Java and Microsoft machine Java. Well, MS won the day. So Sun went about creating OpenOffice. It not only could open MS Word doc’s, excel and PowerPoint files, but edit them and save them in the same format as well.

open office word

     So you want to write and you can’t afford MS Office, either go with WPS Office, or OpenOffice, and you wont go wrong. Take a look at the screen shot I’ve included above. You’ll see almost all the functions of MS Word. Meanwhile, take a peek at the program!

     Thank you all and keep writing my friends.

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Rich

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