Tag Archive: collection



When I last posted I had shared how Helen and I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas back in 2015 and that I had started learning more about how to use it and to download books.  Again, many of you thought, “That’s it we’ve lost him.  Good-bye paper, hello electronic…”  But that did not come to pass. It took me a little while to get used to the page turning abilities and how many paragraphs there are on an e-page (usually less than in a typical printed book from what I can tell).  The simple swiping of the pages on the Kindle really threw me for a long while, because I’d accidentally go to far and would then have to slowly swipe back to get to where I needed to be.  Then recently I learned there was a simple App already on the Kindle that when used would simulate the turning of a SINGLE page and even had the sound effect of a paper page turning which solved that problem for me.

Yet, I still enjoyed pulling out my paperbacks and hardback copies of books.  As a writer, its much more satisfying to smell a book, and feel the cover in your hands, as well as actually be able to put your signature inside a physical book.  But as the days have drawn on and Helen and I have had to start packing in anticipation of moving to a new place, I really took notice of how many books we had.

Every bibliophile reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.  You find sometimes you have more (heavy) boxes of books than you do most other things as you pack.  Plus you find yourself wondering, “Am I really going to re-read or need ALL of these?”  This question came up several times… okay I lie, it came up a LOT of times in the last few weeks.  Part of the solution for us was to sell some of our less desired collection to book stores for “Store Credit”.  Yes, the collection will expand once more in the near future MWAHAHAHAH!  But in the meantime it meant less boxes for us to take with us.  Yet, we still found we had more than we actually had room for.  The solution to our problem came in the form of our recently acquired Kindle.  Many of the larger books in our collection were anthologies which were rather heavy in some cases.  Now, in case you haven’t heard, both Helen and I suffer from Fibromyalgia which means we’re in pain and our muscles do not always act the way we wish them to.  On some days, holding one of those heavier volumes could be more of a discomfort than a pleasure as we tried to forget our physical pain.  So we replaced most of those books with e-book versions, allowing us to keep the stories we loved but manage them more comfortably.

I believe most of you can already see where this is going.

Also, during the recent holiday season I had heard that famous song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams on the radio which brought a new thought to mind.  There is the passage, “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmasses long, long ago…” which had always struck a chord with me.  Why ghost stories at Christmas?  I already knew from my mother who had been born and raised in England that this was a tradition back there, that stretched long before Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”.  So I began researching and found that this was indeed true and even learned there were collections of Christmas Ghost Stories out there.  Many of them were out of print, BUT could be obtained for the Kindle.  So I wound up getting several collections really cheap on Amazon (free or for just .99 cents) and have been enjoying tales from famous writers such as Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Ambrose Pierce, and many many others )who I’ll be covering in future entries).

However in the case of Mr. Blackwood, I got a collection of ALL his works in one volume.  Now let me tell you this is a BIG collection, which would’ve translated into either a book with very tiny print or a really large and heavy book which may have wreaked havoc on my Fibromyalgia.  So getting it in e-book form was just right for me.

Yet when I take a bath or am relaxing on break at work, I love to pull out a lightweight hardcover or paperback and enjoy myself.  Having a Kindle has not ended my love of reading, but merely allowed me to have another avenue to enjoy books with less strain.

So as you can see, I have learned to use my Kindle as a tool.  It permits me to deal with my physical limitations, while also allowing me to see how the latest book I’m putting out appears to e-reader fans.  I get to see firsthand how the layout is looking for myself and make whatever adjustments are needed before releasing the story for others to enjoy.  In fact, I order physical proof copies, as well as electronic ones, because I want to make sure my readers are getting a good product that they can be proud to own and feel like they got their money’s worth.

As you can see, for me there is no Print vs E-book struggle.  It all depends on how you choose to build and maintain your collection.

That’s all for now.  So until next time my friends, take care and keep writing.

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Book review time again.  Today I wanted to share with you my review on what I consider one of THE best  collections of vampire stories ever compiled.  It covers some of the earliest vampire tales known and finishes with more modern ones from the 1980’s.  With the many takes on vampires we see these days from Anne Rice to Stephanie Meyer, I thought it might be interesting for you all to check out some other takes on the vampire genre done by other authors over the decades.  So without further ado, allow me to introduce you all to…

 



THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VAMPIRE STORIES is one of the best anthologies I’ve ever found. Part of the reason is that it covers authors who’ve touched on this subject as far back as 1816 and goes up to 1984. There are a number of familiar names in this book like Clark Ashton Smith, Sheridan Le Fanu, Tanith Lee, and August Derleth to name just a few. But what fascinates me the most is seeing how the vampire legend is explored. We meet the legendary “Varney The Vampire”, the seductive and dangerous “Carmilla”, as well as Stoker’s missing chapter from Dracula which was released as a short story several years after the novel itself was published. I understand in some later printings, it was put back into the novel where it belonged. Alas my copy of Dracula is one of the ones without it, so finding this missing chapter in this collection was a treat for me.

 

The first 2 installments in this collection: “Fragment of a Novel” (1816) and “The Vampyre” (1819) were of particular interest to me since their creation were the direct result of a bet made between the poet Percy Shelley, his wife Mary, Lord Byron and John Polidori. The four were spending a summer together and during a particularly boring rainy night they all agreed to a little contest. Each was to create a full length horror story within a certain amount of time. These 2 stories were the entries by Byron and Polidori respectively. Neither is fully finished. In fact Mary Shelley was the only one to complete her story the legendary “Frankenstein”. 

 

Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” is another brilliant piece in this collection. Published in 1872, it predates Stoker’s more famous “Dracula” by a few decades. Considered a ‘lesbian’ vampire story since both the victims and the antagonist are women. But it’s here where we really find one of the first demonstrations of the sensuous behavior that has been built upon by so many modern writers of vampire fiction. Yet, it is not love or real affection. I’ll quote a passage from the story so you can see what I mean.

 

“…the vampire is prone to be fascinated with an engrossing vehemence, resembling passion

of love, by particular persons. In pursuit of these it will exercise inexhaustible patience and

stratagem, for access to a particular object may be obstructed in a hundred ways. It will

never desist until it has satiated its passion, and drained the very life of its coveted victim.

But it will, in these cases, husband and protract its murderous enjoyment with the refinement

of an epicure, and heighten it by the gradual approaches of an artful courtship. In these cases

it seems to yearn for something like sympathy and consent. In ordinary ones it goes direct to

its object, overpowers with violence, and strangles and exhausts often at a single feast…”

 

So here we see that alluring nature that is so eroticized these days. But clearly in this passage we see that clearly there is no real affection for the victim at all. It’s fascinating to see how one idea is singled out and made romantic, while the consequences are ignored these days. However, I cannot criticize modern writers for this. Every author wants to put a different spin on an old legend and this can be seen throughout this collection.

 

We have “Luella Miller” by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman in 1902. No blood letting here, but the title character definitely has a kind of vampiric nature, willing or otherwise. She is almost a sympathetic character in some ways. 

 

Later we find C. L. Moore’s “Shambleau” in 1933, where the author takes us on a science fiction journey to another planet where we meet a vampire-like being, who also shares some resemblance to the legendary Medusa of ancient Greece.

 

There’s also the legendary Fritz Lieber’s offering “The Girl With The Hungry Eyes” from 1949. Or August Derleth’s 1939 “Drifting Snow” where we meet a pair of Snow Vampires. 

 

For almost a century authors have been putting their own spin on this famous myth and many will continue for years to come, myself included. 

 

I give this collection a full 5 STAR rating and highly recommend it to any fan of the genre.


Sometimes its good to check out the classics from way back when.  HP Lovecraft was an author who lived in the early 1900’s and is considered by many to be one of the greatest horror writers in history.  His creations ranged from magical (such as warlocks,  and demonic beings) to creatures from outer space who are so ‘alien’ most do not even conform to any life forms we’ve seen on this world.

But his greatest talent was inspiring terror in the readers by letting them meet these nightmarish things through the eyes of ordinary people like you and me.  We see and feel their terror at meeting things that are so different and (mostly malevolent) that seem to defy the laws of God and man.

Here is my review of one of his collected works.  I may do reviews on some individual stories of his down the road because they are so long that they border on novellas.

So without further ado… Here is my review of “At The Mountains Of Madness”….

 

 

5 STAR RATING by Allan Krummenacker on Goodreads.com

An archaeological expedition into the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic leads to an amazing discovery of strange fossils that seem reminiscent of legendary creatures whispered in the dark pages of the Necronomicon. Soon actual specimens are uncovered in pristine condition but a freak snowstorm blows down the sides of the mountains cutting off the members of the expedition that found them from the rest of their team. Silence follows and a rescue mission is sent out to see what happened at the camp and what has become of the treasured find.

But only horror awaits the rescuers as the camp is found to have been wiped out in the most bizarre and horrid fashion, with one of the camp’s men missing along with a couple of the sleds. As the search expands more and more questions arise and a trip to the fabulous mountain range reveals a terrifying secret. One that will drive one man mad and leave another shaken as the tries to reconcile himself to the knowledge of how life evolved on our world and what was behind it.

This and other tales of the macabre await the reader, as Mr. Lovecraft weaves tale after tale of horror and madness.

“At The Mountains Of Madness” is one of those tales by the great man that border on science fiction as well as horror. The entities that appear in the story come from the stars and are truly alien and frightening to imagine. His creations were truly not of this world in my opinion. These creatures are not humanoids with funky foreheads as depicted in so many movies or on television.

Perhaps he should be considered among the earliest of science fiction writers as well as horror.

 

*To read more of my reviews on Goodreads.com click on the link below:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5284559-allan-krummenacker?shelf=read

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