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As you may recall, a while back I revealed that I had begun not one but two collaboration projects.  One is with my wife Helen and the other is with my high school friend and author Rich Caminiti. Working with my wife has not been a problem since she’s always been my confidant, science advisor, etc.

But working with an old friend like Rich… that presented me with some challenges that both thrilled and worried me.

The biggest concern I had was the fact that he looks to me for guidance in many ways since this is his first full-fledged novel, whereas I already have two under my belt.  He had tried one before but due to the fact that it involves time-travel and altering an individual’s personal history, it presented him with a lot of issues that he is still working out.  I’ve seen the early versions and I think the story has a lot of potential and will be a great read when the time comes.  But before going back to it, he wanted to try his hand at another writing project first, to get more experience and knowledge about the process of creating a novel and getting story-line worked out into a logical and easy to read format.

In some ways I found being in the role of a mentor as well as co-author a little daunting, but I’ve known him for so long that I trusted in both of us to come to agreements and be open to each others ideas and suggestions.  However, we can both be almost too agreeable, which presented pitfalls of another kind such as trying to fit too many ideas into one story and the main plot becomes muddied and convoluted.

Luckily, this has not been the case.  We talk every week and discuss ideas and really give a lot of thought to each one to see if it can actually fit into the main story.  If the idea doesn’t fit, we’ll work and rework it until it does fit or set it aside for another story entirely.  (Remember that file folder I keep on my computer where discarded ideas go, that’s where they land up.  Just because the idea doesn’t work here, it can work elsewhere or even be the basis for a brand new story.)

As for where Rich and I are at right now, the above image gives you an idea of our thought processes. We have plenty of ideas and red-herrings to throw at the audience, but also a solid progression to the final climactic scene.

So what is our project?  It’s a paranormal/historical piece which begins in a snowy winter in 1846 and culminates in a dangerous race against time to thwart the most diabolical plot to cripple the Union Army in 1863-4.  No, you won’t find Abraham Lincoln fighting werewolves or General Grant taking on rampaging hordes of zombie leprechauns (Yeah, I know that last one is pretty far out there but some of the things that Hollywood comes out with sometimes is pretty far out there too, folks).

However it does involve actual historical events and figures, as well as a healthy dose of the supernatural and mythological beings from not one but at least three different cultures.  These cultures include: Native American, Chinese, and even some European mythos.

Yeah, I know it sounds bizarre but I’m being serious here, folks.  Without giving too much away, let me just ask you to think about what was happening in America back in the mid-1800’s.  We had an influx of Chinese/Asian immigrants during the California Gold Rush, and the expansion of the railroads.  On the East Coast, we were getting immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Italy etc. due to the Great Potato Famine, unstable regimes, and other events.  With all these different cultures coming to America, they brought religion, ideas, food, cultures, etc.  So why not a bit of supernatural concepts or beings as well?  When looked at in that light, the concept is not so far-fetched is it?

However, it took me and Rich several months to reconcile these ideas and actually formulate a solid workable concept that, based on where we were having the story take place, actually works.  We both did extensive historical research on a number of fronts including the Opium Wars in China, events and historical figures involved in the Civil War, Native American tribes located west of the Sierras, as well as San Francisco here in California.

Sharing what we learned through, weekly Skype sessions, we slowly pieced together how the story we wanted to tell could take place and blend into the time period and connect with the turbulence of the Civil War.  We also drew upon another event from 1846 which led to the title of our project “The Pass”.

This is part of what makes our collaboration work.  Sharing the job of research, ideas, facts, thoughts and hashing things out ‘together’ to make a cohesive concept.  There is give and take, as well as turning to each other when one of us hits a mental roadblock or cannot see a way forward.  We’re there for each other and offer as much support and friendship as possible.

So that’s what collaboration looks like for us.  How far have we gotten with the story and how are handling the writing portion?

Well stay tuned.  I’m hoping to explore that area in my next installment.  Until then, take care and keep writing everyone.

Damaged…But Not Tainted


 

Well, my first week of working for the county started out good and ended with a release… from employment.  I had to step down and leave due to a health issue from a previous employer that dogs my every step… Asthma!  Some years ago I worked in a building that had a very bad ventilation system, which even may have contained toxic molds.

I tried to fight and argue, but the company insisted there was nothing wrong with their system.  “We’ve had it tested…” I was told repeatedly.  I even asked to see the test results and specifically know what kind of airborne things they had tested for.  They told me that wasn’t possible and it was company privilege.  Finally, I was told that if I wanted to get a test done of my own I’d have to pay for it, AND I’d have to get their approval to allow the people who would do the test permission to enter the building in the first place.

Really fair and independent, right?

At the time I was too sick to fight ‘city hall’ and wound up leaving.  But the damage to my lungs remained.  I’ve gotten better with time, but they’ve never healed completely and probably never will.

Fast forward to this week.  We began orientation in a building that I had no problem with.  In fact I felt rather safe there.  But the actual training was taking place in another location which I did not enter until yesterday.  My lungs felt itchy, but I figured I would tough things out.  After all I was only supposed to be there for 12 weeks (that’s what we were told in orientation).  Unfortunately, reality stepped in and said we’d be there at least 17 weeks, with the strong possibility that after that this building is where we’d be assigned.

Still I kept quiet.  But then we went on a tour and when I reached the areas where we’d be working I felt much worse.  I continued throughout the day in the hopes that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but those of you with asthma know what it’s like.  It doesn’t get easier in a place that’s triggering you off.  If it had truly been only 12 weeks, I might’ve been able to stick it out.  I was willing to try, but when I heard this might be were I’d be staying (and no there was not a way to make sure I’d be located somewhere else after the training) I had to make a decision.

I couldn’t risk being stuck in the same type of situation that damaged me in the first place, so today I tendered my resignation.

As you can imagine, I felt completely lost and gutted by this decision.  I felt like I let so many people down, but what choice did I have.  I spoke with my better half first and she told me to quit.  She could hear the breathing problems over the phone.

By the end of the day I asked the trainers if this was the only facility where this kind of training took place.  They confirmed that it was and then said, “Why do you ask?  Is there something wrong, you don’t look all right.”  I told them my problem and they were very sympathetic but explained that indeed their hands were tied.

So I came home last night and spoke with Helen who told me not to go back.  So this morning I put on my ‘big boy’ pants and made the phone call to resign.  Now I had a special ID badge that I wanted to get back to them and the person I spoke with told me to take it to office where Orientation had taken place and sign the forms for my resignation.

Well, I braced myself for the experience and went to Personnel and told them the purpose for my visit.  The folks that greeted me were very sorry and asked if I wouldn’t mind talking with one of the higher ranking personnel staff.  I agreed and was shown in to an office where a very nice woman sat me down and talked with me about the situation.  She was very sweet and sympathetic and then asked me a particular question that floored me.  It was “Would you want to come back and work with the county again?  In a a different position and location of course?”

Naturally I gave her a resounding and enthusiastic “YES!”

She smiled and told me to keep watching the employment board online and if I saw some positions I qualified for, to try for them.  I took this to mean that the fact that I got on with them in the first place, meant that they considered me the kind of person they wanted in their employ.

I spent the rest of the morning getting myself back to full-time status as a student at the University and so I could get my full financial aid package, as well as preserve our current residence for possibly the summer if nothing else happens on the work front.

Where do I go from here?  Attend classes, try and get something part-time either at the college or nearby and keep putting in applications for State and County work, as well as write.  In short I move forward and keep trying.

At least now I know that I do appeal to employers and can land something.  Parts of me are damaged, but I’m not tainted.  There’s no cloud or stain that tells people I’m “Unemployable”, and that means a lot.

Until next time, take care and keep writing…

Hey Allan Why So Quiet Lately?


How come no new posts lately Allan?  Have you given up Blogging?  Is everything all right with you?

These are the questions I’ve been hearing a lot lately, and with good reason.  With the holidays over and I have Winter Break from University, a lot of you were expecting more frequent posts here.  Well, so was I.  But then life got in the way and hasn’t stopped yet.

What do I mean by that?  Well let me take a moment to gather my thoughts and I’ll explain…

After my last post, there was of course the holidays to contend with.  Both my wife Helen and I were in heavy demand so naturally I didn’t have a lot of time to even think about blogging.  What time I had available to write I spent working on “The Door”, focusing on the confrontation scene I mentioned in the last entry.

However, even that got derailed by events that began shortly after the new year began. I started getting requests for job interviews which took up more of my time as I prepped and primped to make a good impression.  Then early last week, I got an offer with the County of Monterey, which I have accepted.

DRAMATIC PAUSE:

The job in question is full-time, which of course means I cannot take a full class load at CSU Monterey Bay, which led to a new crisis.  Helen and I live in off campus-housing, which requires I be enrolled as a full-time student.  We don’t have the money or resources to move right away, so I had to put together an appeal to allow us to stay where we are until our lease runs out in May, which would put us in a better position to move then as well as still permit me to take a couple of classes.

I should be hearing an answer on our appeal late this week/early next week.  In the meantime, we’ve been exploring back-up possibilities of where to move (which would be really stressful and difficult) in the meantime.

We have some possibilities in mind, but would really rather not be forced to move at this time as I still have to get past the ‘Probation Period’ with the county.  They could decide I’m not working out and dump me, in which case I’d simply go back to being a full-time student if no other work offers show up.

All this worrying and running around has taken up most of my time this month and I’m simply praying at this point that we’ll be given to okay to stay until the end of the lease and not have our lives disrupted even more.

So keep your fingers crossed for us that things work out and I can settle into the new job and juggle the classes I’m still taking with time for more writing.

I’ll post again later this week or early next week with an update, so stay tuned… and keep writing.

Dating a Writer


Reblogged from fellow author… and yes it’s all true

Writer's Treasure Chest

Today I was surfing the internet to learn more about me being a writer and how my world, my life, my leisure time behavior has changed.

I as well wanted to find out how couples are finding arrangements when one of them is a writer.

At the end I ended up at ‘buzzfeed’ and found a hilarious, but apparently quite accurate infographic I couldn’t resist sharing.

What do you think: Is this just as true as I believe it is?

Picture courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com/markigmen/11-things-to-know-about-dating-a-writer-13o1t#.ssJQ4xpaa Picture courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com/markigmen/11-things-to-know-about-dating-a-writer-13o1t#.ssJQ4xpaa

If you have something to add, let us all know by leaving your comment. :-) Thank you!

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Allan’s 2015 Year In Review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


As you all know, for the past couple of months, I was pulled away from my writing by all the demands of my classes at the California State University of Monterey Bay.  But now all of that is over, until next semester begins late next month/early February when it all starts up again… possibly, things may change before then.  I’m up for a couple of job interviews which could change everything.

In any case, you’d think I would be eager to jump back into my writing right?  Yes and no.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still in love with writing, but trying to awaken my muse has been hard.  Being away from my writing for so long left me drained emotionally and mentally on the creative front.  Plus there’s been other things I had to deal with which also got pushed aside thanks to all the schoolwork.

Luckily a lot of that is done and I have more time to get back to writing, only I found I was stuck staring at “The Door” and not being able to do anything with it.

(NOTE: This is NOT the final design for the bookcover…  I’m still working on it)

Now before anyone mentions plotting, let me explain that I’ve always known where the final confrontation was going to take place and who’d be there.  I could clearly see each of the characters who needed to be there having their own special moment.  I even knew why they were there, but I couldn’t figure out what they’d be doing DURING the fight.  Most of the scenes I was picturing were aftermath moments, or pauses when the action moved elsewhere, so they had to be on hand.  But what were they doing while the action was happening was puzzling me.

I tried turning it over again and again in my mind only to realize I was once more dealing with a mental version of my old nemesis the Rubik’s Cube.  Only this time it was more intimidating than ever before…

I began to feel like I’d never solve this problem.  Again and again I’d start thinking I had the solution, because I could see the goal in the distance.  I’d even make good progress towards getting there, but then I’d find myself hitting another wall.  It was like wandering through the most frustrating maze I’d ever encountered.

Then yesterday, the breakthrough finally hit me.  I needed to work on the final battle FIRST and then let the rest of the story follow.  I had to place every character I wanted into that scene and find out for myself what they could/would/and finally did in that climactic moment.  Only then could I justify to myself as well as the reader, why they needed to be in this story in the first place.

Now normally I don’t usually work this way.  I’ve always used a loose outline, like in this case, and knew where I was going and led the characters to that moment.  Plus, I still needed to see what that final confrontation was going to look like for myself.

Immediately, I looked back at my own works “The Bridge” and “The Ship” and re-read the final battle scenes for each of them.  I quickly realized I had a tendency to go for some pretty impressive battles, that seemed almost impossible for any person to win.  But that’s always been my philosophy in writing.  The more daunting the odds, the more impressive the heroes are for overcoming them.

I would have to go big for this third installment, but not just in size.  I had to deliver something new and special for the readers.  I’d given them glimpses into some of the Para-Earths where my previous antagonists came from.  This time I needed to show the readers WHY some of these being needed to be kept out of our world!

At that moment, I knew what I needed to do… it was time to open “The Door” and let the nightmares from one of those other places come through.   With a threat of this magnitude in mind, I now know exactly how important it will be to have “All hands on deck”, as well as how to utilize each and every character in that scene.

So there you have it folks, once again I say “There is no one specific to write a story”.   We each may have our own special methods of writing, but sometimes even those techniques may not always be enough.  There will be days when we need to discover and add new tools to our already impressive arsenal.

I’m very eager and excited to get back to the story now.  I know that working that final confrontation is going to make how I continue to write certain characters in earlier sections of the book much easier. I already knew their motivations for the most part, but I suspect I’ll have better insight into their personalities because I’ll have a more clear idea of just how far their willing to go for their ultimate goals.

Remember everyone, stories can take many paths.  But in the end its the writer to must choose or forge the right one that will best serve the purpose in the end.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


This is a tricky topic to cover, because as with any form of art the old saying of “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” truly is the rule. Speaking ONLY for myself, it comes down to have characters been cut out?  Were certain scenes reworked to blend into one?  Was the flavor or message of the story lost or enhanced?

Given the holiday season, I decided to focus on one Christmas movie that I consider a true classic, which definitely took some artistic liberties, yet managed to enhance the story in my opinion.  The movie in question is the 1951 version of  “A Christmas Carol” starring the legendary actor Alistair Sims as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Now before I continue, let me assure you all that I have actually red the original story in Mr. Dickens own words many times before and am familiar with what was actually in the novella itself.  And I can safely say his original story was carefully kept intact in this film adaptation.  However, certain additions were made by the producers which for me, enhanced the story and made Scrooge’s transition from tight-fisted miser, to a good and generous soul all the more believable.

The first change I will address was during the visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, actually a number of the changes took place in this section of the film, but helped make the mood of the piece more poignant.  It is mentioned in the novella, that Scrooge’s little sister died giving birth to his nephew Fred, who we meet early in both pieces and his harshly dismissed by his uncle.  Fred even points out that as far as he knows the two have never quarreled and he is continuously puzzled by Scrooge’s attitude towards him.  In Mr. Dickens version there is the subtle hint that Scrooge resents his nephew’s existence since it meant his sister (who Scrooge dearly loved) lost her life.

In the film the producers added Fran’s death scene with Scrooge at her bedside.  In the scene elderly Scrooge sees his younger self leave the room after he believed his sister had passed away and heard his newborn nephew crying.  We see there the anger in his younger self  that is the birth of his resentment.  But after his younger self leaves, Scrooge sees and hears his sister speak once more begging him to take care of and watch out for her son.  Elderly Scrooge is devastated by this knowledge and the scene marks a powerful beginning of his change towards not only his nephew but his own behavior towards the world as a whole.

The producers added yet more past story, by showing us how Scrooge met his partner Jacob Marley as young men, and even further on as their greed made them more powerful men in the community.  But then there was another scene added which takes place shortly after we see Scrooge’s former fiancee talking about Scrooge working in his office while his partner lies on his deathbed (this part of the story comes straight from Mr. Dickens work).

But then the producers added a new scene where we see Scrooge at Marley’s bedside, and Marley tries to warn him that they had been wrong in how they behaved all these years.  Naturally, Scrooge does not understand and takes none of his dying partner’s words to heart.  This scene actually enhances the original scene of Marley;s ghost coming back to try and warn Scrooge to change his ways earlier in the film.

All of these added scenes help to enhance Scrooge’s transformation towards the end of the film, and make Mr. Simms performance of the miser’s delight of finding he was still alive and had a chance to redeem himself all the more poignant.

As you can clearly see, for me these changes only enhanced the film and the original story.  Mind you, I am also a great fan of the George C. Scott version as well, which did the novella many great justices, which I may touch on in another entry.

But for now, I would like to hear your opinions on when is it okay to take artistic liberties with an established piece of literature.  It could be your own work and how you would envision it being turned to film.  We all know that time constraints and costs motivates a lot film-makers so changes are bound to happen.  But if you had a hand in the screenplay, would you allow or make changes or shortcuts, and if so how would you keep the feeling and main plot of the story alive?

I look forward to seeing what you all have to say.  Until next time, take care and as always… Keep Writing!


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A PAGE TURNER

5.0 out of 5 stars

By John Maberry on December 5, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

A good follow up to <i>The Bridge</i>, also by this author. A little slow and moderately confusing at the start with a “Family History” that functions as a prologue but isn’t 100% tied into the rest of the story. But other than that it moves along keeping interest and the virtual pages of a Kindle turning.

Cassandra from <i>The Bridge</i> is fully developed as the protagonist and her relationship with Julie, another character from the earlier book is a central feature. Together with a whole host of other characters they battle supernatural forces, some of which are associated with the ones from the earlier book. While you can read this one without having read it’s predecessor, I recommend reading the other one first. If you’re into fantasy, paranormal mild horror and a little romance thrown in, you will like this book. I did.

*Available now for just $1.49*

For Nook, Apple, Samsung, PDF or other E-Readers click on this link:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433111

For Kindle click on this link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K3A7XG6/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Tonight It Begins…


For all those who celebrate this holiday I wish you every joy and happiness…

May the blessings of this season bring you close to those you love, and success in the year to come.

A HAPPY AND BLESSED CHANUKKAH TO YOU ALL MY FRIENDS!

Ideas For Under Your Tree


****LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR THAT PARANORMAL/MYSTERY READER IN YOUR LIFE****

Psychics, ghosts, and beings that are/and are not from this world await you within the pages of these 5-star stories

Signed copies of books I and II in the “Para-Earth” series are just $10.00 each, plus $5.00 shipping and handling anywhere in the United States. (For overseas shipping will be more of course, and will depend on the destination). These books are trade paperback sized and will look great on any bookshelf.

*I accept Paypal, checks, or money orders*

Just tell me which title(s) you want and if they’re to be signed and personalized. (Some people prefer just signed, which is why I ask).

You can contact me by leaving a message below or by e-mailing me at:

allan.krummenacker@gmail.com

Please note: Normal mailing time is 5-9 days, so order soon to get it in time for Christmas.

44a50-xmas2bgift

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