Category: Uncategorized


My Thoughts On Collaboration…


This is a post I’ve been thinking about sharing for some time, but hadn’t because I was actually a little afraid to talk about it.  When it comes to writing, the idea of collaborating with someone else filled me with both excitement and dread.  Especially dread because I am not always that confident in my skills and abilities.

Yet, I seem to be doing something right.  A number of people find this blog quite helpful and offer their own experiences which reflect many of my own.  Furthermore, until now writing has been a solitary activity.  I enjoy being the one to make decisions and not have to worry whether or not I offend someone else or hurt feelings.  Oh, I’ve bounced ideas off certain people I trust, like my wife Helen.  In her case, I do this quite often because I consider her much better read and more knowledgeable about science and logic than me.  But in the end, the final decisions have been all me.  So to surrender some of that control is a big step not only for me, but for any writer.

Yet, I’ve recently started working with not just one, but two different people on collaborations.  I’ve known and trust these two individuals implicitly, (especially since one of them is my wife Helen).  And already I’ve been learning a lot about collaborating and I’ve been finding the experience quite rewarding.

Working with another to create something new offers untold possibilities.  With the right person, the two of you can generate entirely new ideas that you might never have thought of on own.   Everyone walks their own path and has their own experiences and knowledge to draw upon.

In a good collaboration, it’s not just sharing the work.  The two of you actually feed each others imagination.  You work (figuratively or literally) side by side, building and creating something new and exciting.  Everyone has walked their own path and has gained knowledge and life experience that they can share, adding a new melody to the piece in question.

And if you start feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project, there’s someone there to help pull out.

A good collaboration, like the two I’ve been working on, has opened my eyes to untold possibilities.  I can see so many stories looming in the distance and am looking forward to working on them down the road.  But finding the right person to collaborate with… that’s another thing entirely.  And I’ll be dealing with that in my next post.

So start giving the idea of collaboration some thought.  It does hold wonderful possibilities, but it can also bring about new headaches.  So beware!

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

*NOTE: I am not looking to collaborate with anyone else for the time being, so please don’t ask.  I’ve been approached a number of times already and have politely refused.  If you’re wondering why I’ve taken this attitude, wait for my next post and you’ll learn more about me than you probably ever wanted to.*


You’ve just about finished writing your novel and can see the finish line coming up in the distance.  But now you have a new concern to deal with, creating a cover for it.  But what kind of art should you use?  Should it be a photograph, cartoon, an image that evokes feelings from a favorite movie like having several people walking towards the reader like in “The Right Stuff”?  Should it just show an individual who appears in the story, or should it show a scene that’s right out of the book?

So many questions, right?  And the answer is… I don’t know.  Every author has to choose their own path or vision for their work.  It’s not an easy thing to do either, I know this.  All I can say is know your audience and what captures their imagination.  Make sure the art speaks to them and makes them want to pick up your work.

But this can be difficult sometimes.  Tastes in art changes over the years so I thought it might be fun to demonstrate how the style of covers can change over time using one of the legendary Ray  Bradbury’s most famous works, “Fahrenheit 451″.

Here is the original cover when the novel first came out.  Although somewhat cartoonish or simplistic, the image reflects the torment of the protagonist as he wrestles with his work as a ‘fireman’ who burns books for the good of society.  A part of him feels the loss and flames as ideas and words are consumed by the fires he helps create.

Now here we have another cover that was created depicting “The Hound” from the novel.  Although clearly the image depicts an animal at second glance we note the extra set of legs and are left wondering what part this creature plays in the novel.  Unless you’re familiar with the story, you’d never know there was a ‘Hound’ in the book, but it was a mechanical device used for locating and hunting down ‘criminal’ elements.  Furthermore, it did not in the least look like an actual animal.  So although this cover would definitely catch the eye and make you wonder, it doesn’t really say a lot about the story itself.  Again, keep in mind I’m speaking for myself in this entry, not any of you.

This next cover, obviously designed for the books 60th anniversary, is very simple but has good color and a clever image.  Fusing a ‘book of matches’ and an actual ‘book’ is quite clever and assumes the potential reader has some inkling of the story inside.

This next image is both eye-catching and disturbing.  The artwork is something almost nightmarish to me, yet I can see how it works considering the society depicted in the story is rather warped and disturbing.  I can even appreciate the strange ‘hound’ figure which in some ways might have looked even better on the cover of an HP Lovecraft book.  And although effective, I’m not sure this would be a cover I’d want lying around when company comes over or if I had children.

The next cover obviously harkens back to the original design, but with more color and was possibly aimed more at young boys.  Certainly it would catch a younger reader’s eye and again it clearly hints at what can be found inside the pages.

I personally found the next cover very effective as we see an interpretation of what the fireman’s gear might look like.  Plus the reflection of the burning books in the visor again clearly helps the prospective reader get an idea of the storyline.  Plus it keeps the red and yellow colors which hint at fire which is also seen quite frequently in a number of these covers.

In this final image we see a dramatic scene of our protagonist in the middle of a conflagration.  We get a feeling of a fiery future and a clear sense of what a fireman does in that world.

Now as I said at the beginning of this entry, I’m speaking mostly for myself.  Choosing the art for the cover of your book is entirely up to you.  The content, the colors, the message your trying to get across is all on the writer.  It’s your baby, but it is also important to keep in mind how potential readers may react to that image so know your audiences tastes.  Remember you want them to pick your book out of a sea of choices available to them, both online and in an brick and mortar store.

Also, keep in mind to not have the cover depict something that does not actually appear or happen in the book, because then the buyer is going to feel cheated.  I’ve seen many books over the years where that happened and felt exactly that way.  As good as the story might have been, I felt betrayed and had a bitter taste left in my mouth which made me gun-shy about picking up another work by that particular author.

I would suggest beta-testing your cover choices with your audience.  Get feedback on that image just as you would on the story itself.  Remember, that book cover is the handshake that introduces your work to potential readers.  Entice them, pique their interest, but don’t betray their trust.  What is on that cover should show up somewhere in the book, whether it’s a panoramic view of the world the story is taking place on, a moment of adventure, or an image of your heroes/villains.  Play fair and get those readers to pick up your book and leave them wanting your next one.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


I swear there are days I wish signs like this would appear so I can prepare myself…

I’m sure the image above speaks volumes of what’s been happening with me in the last week or so.  Too many distractions and problems to deal with and very little of me to go around.  I won’t go into great detail but I had a financial crisis thanks to my old health insurance (no I wasn’t sick or injured it was a premiums issue) that is finally getting resolved.  My finances are very thin at the moment but will improve shortly so now I can breathe a little easier again.

I also wound up making a major decision on the university front.  I’ve changed my major from Collaborative Health and Human Services to aiming for a Business Degree.  I’m leaning towards Marketing because there’s a much better demand for that field, as well as getting better ideas of how to market my own works in time.

So slowly but surely I’ve been weathering the storms that have been hitting me left and right.  But all this chaos also slowed down my writing considerably.  Just dealing with all this nonsense left me physically and emotionally drained to the point I had very little left in the tank.

Plus I was having a really hard time trying to decide where to take the next scene in the story.  I had several options but none of them were really going anywhere.  They seemed more like unnecessary side streets that did not lend enough to the main story.

Finally I did the one thing I keep reminding everyone else to do…

Instead of trying to force the story along I listened to what my characters were saying.  They told me where they needed to be in the next scene and I went with their idea.  Suddenly, the story is moving forward again and new tension is building as a result, adding new excitement and mystery to the piece.  So tomorrow, I think I can really settle in and do some serious work on the novel.  I really want to get this first draft completed before the end of the summer so I can get the 2nd draft and editing under way.  Then after a third and maybe fourth rewrite, I’ll unleash it on some beta-readers.  I’m still planning on trying to get “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” out by Christmas as well, but we’ll see how things are going.

For now I just need some down time to recover from all this recent stress.  But I feel like on my path again.  That’s all for now.  Take care everyone and remember to keep writing.


Wait I’m the one writing this story!  How did I wind up here?

Did you ever lose track of where the book/story you were writing was headed?  If the answer is no, then all I have to say is, “I hate you, now will you teach me your ways oh Master Jedi?”

Okay, all kidding aside, this happened to me just recently, and the sad thing was I didn’t even realize that I’d lost my plot until I was about third of the way through the first draft. Now, I don’t know if it happened because I was writing part of a series and was trying to remember details from the previous books, or because I got too caught up in the characters (both old and new), but I still managed to lose my original plot which was quite embarrassing.  I mean I could’ve sworn I left on the kitchen table next to my keys, but when I went back the plot wasn’t there.  Neither were my keys for that matter, but I’m going to worry about that later, first things first.

Up until the point where I realized I’d lost the plot, I thought the story was moving along just perfectly.   New characters were being introduced in just the right time and place, fallout from the big final battle from the first book were being addressed, issues of love an coming out to family were being covered, etc.   Yet somehow, the new threat to the characters had somehow fallen off the radar for the most part.  There was a distinct lack of growing menace for the audience to see coming that the characters were completely unaware of…

There very little hint of the approaching storm that was looming on the horizon, which left the reader with a severe lack of growing tension.  This was especially frustrating to me since some of the new characters were in league with my main villain.  Furthermore, the villain of the piece had appeared in both the previous books as as added menace.  There is a huge mystery surrounding him and this story was to be the BIG REVEAL!  We’d learn not only his secrets but that of several others, including that of a ghostly figure who watches over Cassandra, one of my main characters.

Even more irritating to me was the fact that I have this huge climactic battle that will take the readers to places and introduce concepts you never saw coming!  But I still lost that air of growing tension and menace.  Plus, the path the story was on seemed to be veering further away from my intended goal.  Luckily I knew exactly what to do.  After all, this is my story and I was the one in control of where it needed to head.  The path was mine to alter and move as I saw fit…

So what did I do?  Did I go back and dump most of what I’d already written?  The answer to both those questions is a simple ‘no’.  There were a lot of interesting scenes taking place that had a good amount of tension and intrigue that simply needed a little tweaking or an added cutaway scene.  That’s right, all I had to do was cut away from an existing scene and slip in another one involving my “Big Baddie” which clearly had some connection to what was happening in the existing scene.

In a few other areas all I need to do is remind people that ‘certain people’ aren’t who they appear to be and are actually in league with the villain.  This part is a little trickier because I added a number of new characters and I’m trying to keep the identity of the ‘traitor’ hidden from all.  This can be a challenge at times since I’m keeping everyone wondering who the double-agent really is.  Some writers like to make it obvious, while others like to keep the audience guessing.  I side with the latter, but even if people figure out who it is I still have a major surprise for them regarding that person.

But enough of that, I’m starting to lose the point of this entry.  It’s very easy to lose your way while writing.  The characters and what’s going on in their lives can become so interesting at times that we get swept up in those parts of the stories just s easily as our readers can.  But every so often you need to stop and read everything you’ve written up to that point and see if there are any problems.  Some writers will plow on ahead and complete an entire first draft and then go over it to look for issues, which is perfectly acceptable too.  There is no one right way, there are multiple ones.  The main thing point is to make sure you didn’t lose your plot somewhere along the way.  And if you did, make sure you correct it and get things back on track.  Don’t just do a first draft and declare your work done and rush to publish it as is.  You’ll regret it later.

Until next time, take care and keep writing everyone.

PS: I found my keys, they were in my pocket all long.  Now if I could just remember where I put my glasses…


That’s right, my second novel “The Ship” is now free for for all Kindle users.

This 5-star paranormal/mystery continues the story of Cassandra Elliot and Julie Cloudfoot, the two young women who fought alongside Alex and Veronica in my first novel “The Bridge”

These two young ladies have fallen in love and have come to Santa Cruz to see if their new relationship can work, as well as bury Julie’s uncle who had been guarding the bridge as part of his duties as the family shaman.

But there are new problems. Julie is finding out that the shaman mantle has been passed to her, but she things there is nothing to guard against as the being that had lain hidden inside the bridge is no more. However, another evil from another para-earth has arisen and has marked Cassandra is its target.

Now the two will have to fight against a new threat that threatens to tear apart them apart before they fully begin.

Once again ghosts, psychics, and shamans await you in this new story, along with a terrifying ghost ship and a familiar white-haired villain from “The Bridge”

So click on the link below and grab your copy now. And don’t forget to spread the word to everyone you know so they can take advantage too:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Ship-Every-navigator-Para-Earth-ebook/dp/B00K3A7XG6/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1VQJ8YHE6VPSKFT1TWKV


akrummenacker:

I’ve been seeing a lot of people panicking over the new royalties deal Amazon is rolling out. This article may help straighten out some of the misconceptions a few have out there. I hope it helps…

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

ChickenLittleAre you scared yet? Because you should be scared. Something really bad is about to happen. It affects all of us.

Our livelihoods are at risk. The ability to support our families. It’s just over the horizon. It could happen any minute. It’s coming for all of us!

WE ARE DOOOOOOOOOMED.

Ahem.

I’ve been around for long enough to know that authors can be a skittish bunch. Probably something to do with our over-active imaginations, with an assist from that old writers’ favorite: the whiskey brunch.

More seriously, we are going through a period of unprecedented change so it’s perfectly normal for people to be a little fearful. I think the disruption we are all experiencing is greater than that which has been faced by similar industries. In fact, I think the transition from print book to e-book is akin to going straight from vinyl to MP3, with all that…

View original 1,112 more words


Some months back, I talked about Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited and how I did not feel comfortable about having my e-books available exclusively in Kindle form.  For those unfamiliar with what was discussed, here’s  a quick explanation.  In order to be part of Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited, your book cannot be available in any other e-book format (Nook, Sony, Apple, etc.).  This of course means your the e-version of your book cannot be up for sale through Smashwords, Nook, and other e-formats.  This did not rub me the right way at the time, but since then there as been no activity for either of my books through Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or other outlets besides Amazon in spite of a lot of promoting on my part.

But then another disturbing trend began to appear.  I started seeing my books selling on Amazon and I began hoping this meant a growing trend in sales.  However, there was a problem.  In spite of the sales I was not seeing any royalties, which puzzled me greatly.  After waiting a few days and seeing this continue to happen, I delved further into the matter and discovered that ALL the recent sales were returned either the same day or the next day.  Wondering how this could be happening I quickly learned that a number of individuals have been purchasing e-books, reading them in one day, and then returning them for a full refund.  In short, turning Amazon into a sort of  ‘library’ where they could get a good read and then return the book without paying a cent in the end.

Now, I fully understand that sometimes people can buy a book that turns out to be nothing of what they expected and would like their money back.  This is something Amazon and other companies do allow.  However, to abuse this privilege and claim ‘It’s my money and I’m entitled to a refund…’ repeatedly is a real problem.  Every author I’ve seen on Amazon makes a portion of their book available for free so prospective buyers can get an idea if the book is something they’d like to read.  I myself make about 16% of my book available as a sample so people can decide if this is something they want to buy or not.  Yet, a number of people have instead turned Amazon into a revolving library that they don’t have to pay for.

Having lost out on a number of sales, I decided that if my book was going to be treated as if it was part of a library, I wanted to get something for my efforts.  So with no sales happening on all other fronts, I took my books down and enrolled them exclusively with KS and KU.  Now once you’ve enrolled in KS, your book is also available in KU where you earn money every time your book is borrowed and people read it.  However, starting July 1st, this is changing to paying the authors for every page read, which benefits those who right longer books instead of putting out a bunch of really short works which had been the case before.

Now I’ve only joined recently and have yet to see much activity, but I’m hopeful.  I think a lot of people have held back because I advertised a “FREE” weekend where almost 400 people grabbed their own Kindle copy of “The Bridge”.  This coming weekend, I’ll be offering “The Ship” for free as well.  From there, we’ll see how the ‘borrowing’ goes and if there’s any increase in paid sales.   I’m hoping that as a result of all these giveaways will increase the reviews for both books and will lead to actual purchases or paid borrows through KU.

I don’t know if this approach will help or hurt, but sometimes you have to try something different.  As for those who do not have a Kindle, I do have e-copies of my books in E-Pub and PDF formats and will sell them to you personally.  The price is the same as at Amazon $2.99.

*Final note: Amazon has been starting to flag and shut down some of these serial-returners.  But there are a great number of them out there and decent authors are suffering for it.  Hopefully an answer will present itself and I can put my novels out there in other formats for you all.  In the meantime, my contract with KS and KU is only for three months.  If I don’t like what happens I may pull the books out and put them back up on Smashwords and other places, we’ll see.

I hope my experiences here are providing you all with insights of what to watch out for as you decide what format to put your own books in.  There are many pitfalls and unforeseen issues, but hopefully being warned about what could happen will help you navigate and avoid them.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.


*FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW FOR AMAZON KINDLE*

“The Bridge”, book one in the Para-Earth Series for FREE for ALL Kindle users through Amazon.

That’s right, you can enjoy this 4 and 5 star tale for free as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription. This paranormal/mystery will introduce you to ghosts, psychics, and a whole new vision of parallel realities unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

So grab a copy for yourself and tell everyone you know so they can take advantage of this 2-day opportunity, they’ll thank you for it.

Book 2 in this series will be available for FREE next weekend so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy “The Bridge” and see what happens next.

Click on the link below and enjoy yourselves everyone:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bridge-Para-Earth-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00B86DR9G/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0XQ3F748RYGVT4VFBH5E


*IN CASE ONE BOOK WASN’T ENOUGH, HERE’S ANOTHER SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR KINDLE UNLIMITED SUBSCRIBERS*

The Ship © 2014 Allan Krummenacker

You can now get “The Ship”, book two in the Para-Earth Series for FREE through Amazon. That’s right, you can enjoy this 5 star tale for free as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

This paranormal/mystery continues the story of Cassandra and Julie, two young women who fought alongside Alex and Veronica in my first novel “The Bridge”. The two have fallen in love and have come to Santa Cruz to see if their new relationship can work, as well as bury Julie’s uncle who had been guarding the bridge as part of his duties as the family shaman.

But there are new problems. Julie is finding out that the shaman mantle has been passed to her, but she things there is nothing to guard against as the being that had lain hidden inside the bridge is no more. However, another evil from another para-earth has arisen and has marked Cassandra is its target.

Now the two will have to fight against a new threat that threatens to tear apart them apart before they fully begin.

Once again ghosts, psychics, and shamans await you in this new story, along with a terrifying ghost ship and a familiar white-haired villain from “The Bridge”.

So why not check it out today and enjoy a really exciting summer read. And remember, you can find book one in the series “The Bridge” which is also FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Click on this link to start reading:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Ship-Every-navigator-Para-Earth-ebook/dp/B00K3A7XG6/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Z1J12WT1JS8PB0KQX5G


*SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR KINDLE UNLIMITED SUBSCRIBERS*

You can now get “The Bridge”, book on in the Para-Earth Series for FREE through Amazon.  That’s right, you can enjoy this 4 and 5 star tale for free as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.  This paranormal/mystery will introduce you to ghosts, psychics, and a whole new vision of parallel realities unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

So why not check it out today and enjoy a really exciting summer read. Plus when you’re done you’ll find book 2 in the series, “The Ship”, is also available through Kindle Unlimited.

Just click on the link below to get started, and please help spread the word.  Thank you and happy reading…

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bridge-Para-Earth-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00B86DR9G/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TXXNAMPAYHW47GCQ7C1

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,612 other followers

%d bloggers like this: