Tag Archive: books



When I started out on this writing journey, I never saw myself as someone who could a whole bunch of writing projects going at the same time.  That kind of thing was reserved for some of the great prolific authors like Isaac Asimov, who was notorious for working on multiple projects on a regular basis.  The man insisted on having a portable typewriter or two wherever he went.  And if he couldn’t get his hands on a typewriter, he’d pull out a pad of paper and a bunch of pencils/pens and wrote the old fashion way, long hand.

But me, I could never picture myself even thinking about working on more than one story at a time.  In fact, the very first novel I started working on was set in the early 1800’s and I had gotten about 2/3’s of the way through the tale when my wife pointed out that a historical piece would be harder to market.  On hearing this, I gave it some thought and put the story aside and began a whole new piece which eventually turned into my first published novel “The Bridge”.

After finishing that book, I thought about going back to the piece from the 1800’s, but wound up moving forward with my current characters, one of which had connections to the family who were featured in my unfinished work.  However, moving forward was still difficult.   I was taking college classes which of course made excessive demands on my time.  But that was only natural.  School had to come first, however when we moved to Marina so Helen could attend CSU Monterey Bay, I took two years off from studies and focused more on my writing.  Which in turn led to my finally finishing “The Ship” which I released back in 2014.

From there I began work on a third book with those characters, which is still underway at this point and time.  What happened?  I was having difficulties in building the story, things were getting too complicated.  Too many characters, too many ideas, it was turning into something too unwieldy.  Yet I still wanted to be writing, so I wound up putting it aside and started up “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

With that book I had a more clear idea of where I wanted things to go, who the characters were, and how it would end.  Plus, I had a co-author, namely my wife Helen who had been my consultant on the first two books.  Mind you it still took another 2 years before this book was ready to for release, however I didn’t mind it so much.  Why?  Because I had started up another blog, called The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition  https://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/, where I was regularly writing short stories involving different characters who were to appear in the novel.  The idea behind this was to  build an audience for the book before it was released and create a loyal following.  Yet by doing this, something wonderful happened.

I wound up training my brain to think about more than one story at a time.  Writing all those shorts, was a great exercise and now I find myself thinking about multiple storylines on a regular basis.  Now why is this such a big deal to me?  I’ll tell you in my next entry.

I know, I know, I’m cutting things off just when things are getting even more interesting, but this post is getting pretty long and I still have much to say.   So please be patient and I WILL have the 2nd installment up in a week.  Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.


Okay, you’ve written your latest masterpiece.  It’s finished.  You’ve got your cover ready, the editor has done their work, the proofreading is finally over, you got a back cover blurb, dedication page, table of contents, etc.  In short, your baby is ready too be published.

You’ve only got one thing left to do, make it available.  So you go to Smashwords, Kindle, Lulu, whoever you use to publish your precious labor of love, and you start getting asked a bunch of questions.  What’s the title?  How many pages?  The name of the author?  Do you have a synopsis ready?  A blurb?  Then you reach “What genre is your work?”  “What label do you want to put it under?”

Now, if you have an agent…

No not that kind, the other kind, the ones who represent books.  Curse you Marvel!

Anyway, if  have an “literary agent” you already know what genre you were working in, because one of the key elements in finding an agent is knowing what genres they represent.  In turn, your agent would’ve shopped your work around to a publisher who specializes in that genre.  So you should be okay.  But what if your an Indie Author?  Then this question can become more problematic for you.  Not always mind you, but sometimes.

I for one am finding myself slowly falling into that latter category.  Why, you ask?  Simple, I’m one of those authors who crosses genres sometimes without even meaning to.  My Para-Earth series covers mystery, horror, paranormal, and even science fiction, all in one book.  But it doesn’t stop there!  Oh no!  I brought in a gay couple into my work and now I have another section of audience I might miss if I don’t label the book correctly.  In fact, I’ve had to use a few different labels for “THE SHIP”, as compared to the ones I originally put “THE BRIDGE” under.

You see, I emphasized the gay aspect of the second book because of my main characters were a lesbian couple.  Now they appeared in the first book and played a large role in it, however they were the second lead couple and the focus was not as fixed on them.

So even though both books are part of my Para-Earth Series, and the characters were recurring ones, the focus had shifted thanks to who was the lead couple this time.

But this is only the beginning, my friends.  The more I’ve researched genres, the more I’ve found things have changed.  What was once horror, may now be considered Fantasy, or Paranormal.  Thrillers can be set in modern day or in the future (wouldn’t that be sci-fi?).

This is not a new issue folks.  I’ve seen this going on for decades.  HP Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos, is a prime example for “What genre did he really fall under?”  Many consider him the master of the macabre and automatically put him under Horror.  Yet, a number of his creations like the Old Ones, or the Elder Things from “The Mountains of Madness” were beings from outer space.  Outer space?  Doesn’t that fall under Sci-Fi?  I’ve found him in books stores under both Horror and Sci-Fi (a fair solution).

But what if you find yourself telling a love story, which is impacted by a huge mystery, that involves ghosts, psychics, and beings from an alternate reality?  What do you call that?  Horror?  Mystery, Paranormal Mystery?  Some people suggested a genre called “Dark Fantasy” which seems to combine these elements under one label.  Great solution right?  Wrong!

When you go to Smashwords, Kindle, Createspace, etc.  you don’t see Dark Fantasy as one of your choices to answer the question “What genre is this book?”  Instead you get: Horror, Gay/Lesbian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, etc.  You don’t get ‘blended’ options.’  Oh you get offered sub-genres which will let you add some of those, but the main genre you place your book under is the first label people will see when they do a search.  And if that label doesn’t fall into their usual reading choices, you probably won’t even get them giving your book a ‘sampling’.

Determining the genre of your book is a huge thing.  But there are other problems.  Even within those “main” genres, there’s a lot of disagreement about what falls under them.  Which is going to be the subject of my next blog entry, because I’m running out of room on this one.  And the topic is a big one that a lot of writers struggle with and I want to give it equal and fair room for discussion.

In the meantime, if anyone would like to share their thoughts or experiences in dealing with how to define your book by genre, please leave some comments down below.  As I’ve stated many times in the past, the purpose of this blog is so we can all learn from one another.  As readers and writers, we’re all in the same boat, so pooled knowledge can be a powerful tool for us all.

Until next time, take care all and keep writing.

 

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?


Mr. Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012.  It’s been a year since he left us with a legacy of books and stories, some of which have been made into movies and TV episodes (check out Ray Bradbury Theater on Amazon or YouTube).  In this blog entry I’m not going to recap his life story.  Mostly I’m going to share my own thoughts and feelings on the man from what I saw of him in his works.

Mr. Bradbury could capture the imagination in ways not many authors can.  I’m a huge fan of his short story anthologies, as well as his more lengthy works.  But it was those short stories that always captured my attention the most.  I’ve not done many myself, but I’m hoping to expand eventually.  I’m afraid I’m one of those authors who feels he has a big story to tell most of the time.  Perhaps I just haven’t come up with the right character(s) to be the voice or focus of some short stories.  I’ve got one or two in mind but I have to learn a bit more about who they are and what some of their short stories are like first.

But Mr. Bradbury’s style and ability to create characters and situations never ceased to amaze me.  He could take us to other planets, some nice others not, and allow us to meet people who were people.  They had foibles and shortcomings, a sense of duty, dreams, hopes, laughter and tears.  He had a way of making us feel the depths of these characters emotions and make us ask “How would I handle a situation like that?” without even trying.  Whether we were going to an alien planet with a cynical captain and discover that Jesus Christ had been seen there (title of the story is “The Man”), or a world that would literally love and grant you anything you wished but could turn hostile if you disrespected her (“Here There Be Tygers”),  or even taking on the prospects of reverse racism (“The Other Shoe”), he could make the readers wonder about themselves and the world around them.

But he wasn’t just about science fiction.  He could do contemporary with the best of them.  His exploration into childhood could be very moving and evoke emotions from your past with the skill of a master.  “The Sound of Summer Running” is a short that really took me back to summer days and sneakers.  How did a new pair of sneakers that were just right, feel to you?  Did you could believe you would run faster or jump higher than ever before?  What about the excitement of racing around in the front yards with your friends during those summer evenings, how did that used to feel for you?  Did you play kick the can, or hide and go seek, as the evening shadows slowly stretched and night fell?  I always loved to play then because the game became more interesting and exciting thanks to the added difficulty of the approaching dark.  And he brought all this back to me in that one little story.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that he was brilliant at conveying the human experience (for good or for bad).  There’s a charm to his work that can pull out emotions, memories or even contemplations from the  reader.  Part of this is because a lot of his characters are easy to relate to.  You can almost see yourself or people you know in them, making you feel more at home with them.

So raise a glass of Dandelion Wine or whatever your preferred beverage is and offer up a thanks to a man who gave us so much.  He’s left a lot of works behind for us to explore and enjoy, so if you get a chance to go to your local library check out a book or two of his.  You’ll be glad you did.

raybradbury2


ATTENTION ALL KINDLE READERS!

My paranormal mystery novel “THE BRIDGE” is now on sale for $1.49 on Amazon. Grab your copy while it’s at this new low price, because I don’t know how long it will last. There are reviews here as well as a chance to sample the book. So take advantage while you can.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B86DR9G

thebridge_allankrummenacker


Okay I haven’t said anything about “The Ship” lately so I thought I’d bring you all up to date on what’s happening on that front.  The news is that there’s been a lot of writing and rewriting of scenes as I try to get the first draft done.  As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, I find writing the 2nd book more slow at times, but the quality of what I’m creating is better overall.  Because I know some of what to watch out for.  Are the characters behaving like themselves?  Am I making the motivations for their actions clear?  Is this believable? Are things easy to follow and not confusing for the reader?  Am I doing a good job introducing and re-introducing the main characters for both previous readers and those who are new to the series?

Usually, a lot of this would be caught in the second and third drafts.  But from my perspective, a lot of this has make sense to ME before I can expect my readers to follow it.  And if what I’ve done isn’t working for me, there’s a problem.  I’m one of those author’s who says, “Hey, this part does not jibe with what I’ve got going on over here.  This has to be fixed now!”    As you can tell I’m one those people who can’t leave it as is and just redo it later.   I sometimes feel like I’m the character Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory”.  Which would probably explain why whenever I complete a really good scene I yell “BAZINGA!”

Luckily, I’m not on a tight schedule.  I don’t plan on releasing “The Ship” until the end of September or beginning of October later this year.   However, in spite of this, I still want to really get a lot of  this story done right the first time.  And I’m taking extra measures to make sure the final product surpasses the original in quality.  I’m adding a few more Beta-Readers, and grammar editors for a start.  From there, I’ll be getting some professional editing done as well.  I’ve already got the book cover ready and you can see down below this post.  This saves some time down the road and is one of the perks of being an artist as well as an author.

Another added benefit to this plan is that I’ll have some down time between waiting to hear back from beta-readers and grammar checkers.  During that period, I’ll working on book number three, “The Door”.  I’ll also focus on “The Vampyre Blogs” as well.  Hopefully this will mean a shorter wait time for my readers between future releases.  At least that’s what  I’m hoping for.

That’s all for now.  See you all again real soon.  Take care and have a great week everyone.

 


Cat Playing CupidMy Rating: 5 STARS

This fourteenth outing for the Joe Grey Mystery Series was both fun and intriguing for me. While I haven’t read the full series yet, I did read the earliest books and was quickly drawn into this wonderful world where some cats can speak and think on par with humans, while others cannot.

Miss Murphy keeps each story building on this mystery either slightly or heavily. In this case it was more heavily focused on while at the same time dealing with a classic whodunnit.  What is the connection between a body, dead 10 years, up in Oregon to the mysterious disappearance of a local man who was going on a hike locally? And when a second body, also dead some 10 years is discovered in an unmarked grave, the big questions arises to this person’s identity. Could this one be the missing local man? If not, then who is it?  And why were they buried with a book that frightens the cats, because it contains hints about them?

These are just a few of the questions that arise in this book.  We also get to see a bit more of the lives of some of these intelligent/talking cats.  Not all wish to live among humans.  Many are feral and distrustful of humans.  Yet they understand that there are some they can reach out to for help in a major crisis.  The scenes where the ferals reach out to those they believe they can trust can be quite touching and moving.  We see their point of view of their world, as well as the humans viewpoint.  We may not entirely agree with either side but the author gives us food for thought.  She makes us take a look at some of the relationships we’ve had over time with people in our own lives who had very different ideas about themselves and the world.

Another nice touch to these books is that they do not focus solely on the cats themselves but the people in their lives. It is an ensemble piece that keeps growing and evolving, along with the characters themselves. We are slowly introduced to more and more of the many residents of Molena Point (which is modeled upon Carmel California where the author resides).

This is an excellent series that keeps you coming back for more. You’ll find yourself cheering for the cats and their people, as well as a number of the secondary characters who keep the series growing. One of the more feel-good mystery series you want to curl up with on a quiet day and maybe make you wonder about any four-footed friends in your life.


BIG NEWS! My novel “The Bridge” is #44 in Smashwords Bestselling Horror books (over 100K words).

https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/883/bestsellers/0/any/epic/40

The Bridge Book Cover 2.75


GOT ANOTHER 4 STAR REVIEW FOR “THE BRIDGE” ON AMAZON.COM

4.0 out of 5 stars Normally not my type of Genre, March 17, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Bridge (Para-Earth Series) (Kindle Edition)
This para book is not the genre I usually read. But I got sucked in and loved the characters. I am looking forward to the next in the series.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B86DR9G

I Have Vlog On YouTube…


For those who didn’t already know, I have a Vlog over on YouTube. I know I’ve gained more readers since the last time I posted one of my videos here. And I believe the last ones I did post were just about Christmas here in Marina California.

Normally, my videos are all about different parts of writing: getting ideas, settings, plot, finding inspiration, dealing with trying to get published, etc.

Here is the latest video I posted a couple of weeks ago. You might want to check out some of my other videos as well. I went for a bit more comedy in this one, but the main point of the video is not lost. I tried to keep things relevant as well as amusing.

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