Tag Archive: mystery



Cover Three Bags Full

REVIEW BY HELEN KRUMMENACKER

     Mystery stories have to work hard to set themselves apart from the crowd. Some do it with an underlying nonfiction theme, such as mystery novels/recipe books. Special settings can be useful. Most of all, characters are a way to be distinctive and memorable. There’s an entire bookshelf in our house of mysteries with animal detectives.

Cats make up the majority of animal detectives, able to roam freely and unobtrusively. Three Bags Full takes a different, and possibly unique path. As the name suggests, the mystery is being worked on by… sheep.


It begins with the discovery of the death of their shepherd. Even they can tell it is not natural causes, because he has had a spade stuck in his body. Whether it is the cause of death or not, it is a definite sign of violence and took place in their pasture, at night, while they were in a barn. They are disturbed; it is very like and yet unlike a wolf attack. The sheep vow that, as he protected them and cared for them in life, they would see his killer brought to justice.


From early on, it is evident the sheep are unusual (and some of the most interesting subplots come from the secrets of the sheep themselves being revealed). Even so, they are terribly unsuited for the task ahead of them– to solve a murder, one must understand how human society functions, and they start out knowing so little about it that they draw conclusions like the priest’s name is God, because they heard him welcome people to the house of God. He seems to talk about himself a shocking amount. (I find their attempts to understand religion quite amusing.) They also have to understand those parts of their shepherd’s life that don’t involve them, and, indeed, we the readers are somewhat puzzled by the parts that do. He seems to have deliberately brought in sheep that might have been in danger elsewhere, won’t sell any of them, reads books to them, and wants to take them on a tour of Europe.

The best thing, for me, is that the write, Leonie Swann, puts so much empathy into working out the way sheep might think. They aren’t little humans in wool coats; they are nervous, social, forgetful (except for Mopple, the Memory Sheep, who acts as a sort of living notebook for the flock), and they can gather information through their sense of smell. They also have their own culture; human society may be a mystery to them, but they have their own aphorisms, superstitions, and generational knowledge. Within the flock, each sheep still has individual identity. Miss Maple is extremely clever, Othello is brave, Cloud is kindly, Zora has imagination, and there are many more special traits and sheep.

     I would recommend this even without having finished it yet. It is the kind of book where the experience of reading and thinking about it make the journey a joy, regardless of how the plot wraps up in the end.

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Death Light Moon

REVIEW BY HELEN KRUMMENACKER

Death by the Light of the Moon by Joan Hess was something I picked up from a Friends of the Library sale, a paperback mystery marking itself as A Claire Malloy Mystery. I’d never heard of the series, but the description was interesting. An eccentric, rich elderly lady dies the evening of a party that was meant to reveal her heirs. The protagonist is there by virtue of being a daughter-in-law, and barely knows the family.

The basic plot is grounded in the “cozy” style of mystery– the murder takes place in a somewhat remote area, limiting the suspects mostly to the family, with a few hints about something more being afoot. The protagonist is not a professional detective, just someone with a knack for coming across trouble and ask questions. As the story goes on, it becomes a bit less cozy in both the genre and descriptive sense, as more bodies turn up and the protagonist becomes a target, giving a bit more of a thriller vibe at times.

I found this to be not only satisfying as a mystery. The author has a sense of humor and a way with words. The prose makes for a light, easy read, and yet there are digs, gentle in some cases, hard in others, at real ways in which worse aspects of human nature tend to surface, reminiscent of Jane Austen, or perhaps P.G. Wodehouse. From the self-absorbed digressions of a teen, to the small-town police who almost prioritize getting along over getting answers (but who do change their approach appropriately as events unfurl), to the sexism and racism causing real, secret problems for a family of Southern aristocrats, the foibles are observed with wit and honesty. The protagonist even has her own failings

It would have definitely been worth buying at full price, and I look forward to finding more of the series.


In spite of all the excitement of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” being released this October, I keep hearing people ask “Whatever happened to “The Door”?  Are you going to finish that storyline with Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra?”  Of course I’m pleased to tell you all the answer is a resounding YES!  I am working on it as we speak in fact.  In fact I’ve been working on it for quite a while… a really long while… like over two years…. (groan)
SMLXL

“What happened?” I hear you ask.  Well it’s quite simple.  I’ve spent the last 24 months with a serious case of too many ideas.  What does that look like you ask?  Here, let me show you.
SMXLL

I keep getting new scenes going that help move the story along but after a while these new ideas wind up derailing the main plot of the story and I have to pull them out again.  And when that happens I end up hitting the infamous “Writer’s Block” and find myself unable to move the story forward.  This has happened a number of times.  Of course, some people will suggest that you have an outline to follow and stick to it.  This is a great idea, but unfortunately in my case, a number of my characters wind up with ideas of their own that are often way better than what I had planned in my outline and things end up going in a completely different direction.  And quite often those new directions are way better than what I had originally had in mind.  So I mainly work with a ‘loose’ outline.  There are some scenes and ideas that I have nailed down for sure, and then areas where I’m still finding a direction to head in.
However, in the case of “The Door” I had a number of scenes that were so solid there was nothing that could make me budge from using them…  and I wound up hitting wall after wall.  I’d go as far as to introduce new characters such as my vampyre Nathan, who makes his debut in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, at one point.  By adding him I created a bunch of new scenes that really helped the plot along, but also wound up sending the word count skyrocketing.  How did this happen?  By adding Nathan I had to introduce him to the audience, then the other characters, blah-blah-blah… too many words.  But by keeping certain scenes he inspired and giving those scenes to existing characters, I moved the story along much quicker and made those characters more interesting.
Furthermore, when I write a story keeps evolving.  I have a good idea where it begins and ends, but the in between stuff gets fuzzy sometimes.  As I mentioned earlier, my characters sometimes go off in better directions than what I had planned which leads to other problems.  Remember how I mentioned I had certain scenes planned for the story that I was going to use no matter what?  Well, some of those became stumbling blocks and it took me the longest time to come to terms with the fact that they no longer fit the story as it was developing and I had to edit them out…
SLXLM

For me this was hard, because I really fell in love with those planned scenes.  However, as I’ve told many other writers, those scenes will not go to waste.  Instead, I saved them in another file folder on my computer where they will one day see the light of day in another book, where they will fit in just perfectly.
So what shape is “The Door” in now?  Much trimmer and faster-paced than in its previous incarnations.  The story is tense, exciting, full of mystery, with a growing sense of menace that I hope will keep you all on the edge of your seats to the very end.  Certain friends you’ve met before are starting to have an air of menace about them, and will make you wonder if they can still be trusted.  While newer characters will keep you guessing about their allegiances until the very end.
At this point the story is sitting at 50,000 words, and will probably wind up at about 110,000 or less by the time I’m finished.  Many unanswered questions from the first two books “The Bridge” and “The Ship” will be answered.  Furthermore, the fallout from the battle scene with the police at the end of “The Bridge” will be playing a key part in this novel.  I hope to have a completed first draft before the end of the year.
Finally, I’m also working on two collaborations as well.  One is with my wife Helen who co-authored “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  The other is “The Pass” with one of my best friends from high school Richard Caminiti.   He and I hope to have a completed first draft by the end of this year or early next year.
I’m also hoping to have each of them do some blog entries here so you can find out their thoughts on writing and having to put up with me.
Until next time, take care and keep writing 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.

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*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


Happy New Year 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

If you’re reading this I’ll take it that you survived 2014 and are a glutton for punishment because you’re still reading what I have to say here.  Bless your hearts.

With that said, I’m going to try and start the year off on a good note here by posting the opening section of “The Door”, which will be the third book in my Para-Earth Series.  This time Alex, Veronica, Cassie and Julie are back together to face threats old and new.

The white-haired man known only as Z has returned, along with the fragment of the creature our heroes helped destroy in “The Bridge”.  For those who read book 2 “The Ship” we saw Z and his companion help protect Cassandra from the threat that arose from the deeps, but it wasn’t out of kindness.  He has plans of his own for her and now they’re about to bear fruit.

But the girl is guarded by her friends Alex and Veronica, as well as her lover Julie.  Plus of course there’s the ghostly Brandon who has watched over the girl since the day she was born.  However, Z has allies of his own.  Betrayal and danger await from the most unexpected quarters.

With all that said, allow me to post the first preliminary sketch for the cover, along with the opening sequence of “The Door”.  I hope you enjoy, but remember one thing, ‘You enter at your own risk…’

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THE DOOR

by

Allan Krummenacker

(Copyright 2015)

The door stood in a hillside near an open field.  Grass and weeds had long ago swallowed the stonework that surrounded it, leaving just the portal itself visible.   The dark wood looked strange and sinister.  In the grain one could almost see contorted faces crying out for release.

Few people came here, if ever.  But now tall figure appeared with a long cape of jet black approached.  He had long white hair and wore a black frock coat.  He strode up to the door and halted.  After studying the vegetation around the edges, his eyes fixed on the portal itself.  A smile slowly crept over his hawkish features as he turned away.

Strolling along the slope he continued to study the plants along the way.  The changes he’d noticed around the doorway were getting more prominent the further he moved away from the portal.  Eventually he reached one section where the flora had become almost sinister in appearance.  “Oh yes,” he whispered and listened closely to the silence that seemed to have settled in this area.

Suddenly, his cape began to billow and flap even though there was no wind.

The man stiffened and leapt some fifty feet straight up.  The folds of his cloak spreading like gigantic bat wings as he descended onto a thick branch of a neighboring tree.  Landing with the grace of an eagle, he bent his head and stared downwards.

Smoke-like hands had shot out of hillside itself, reaching and grasping at the space he’d just vacated.  With growing satisfaction he watched the ghostly appendages waved about in an almost pitiful manner, knowing their quarry had eluded them yet again.  Finally, they slowly sank back into the dried leaves that covered the ground, and disappeared from sight.

Stepping off the branch he landed nimbly and proceeded to move away just in case the offending appendages tried to make another attempt to accost him.  But nothing happened, much to his delight.

His cape fluttered briefly in the still air.

“Yes, they have become much weaker,” he murmured as if answering a question only he could hear.  “We’ll start keeping closer tabs on the girl.”

Once more the black fabric moved of its own accord as if in response.

“Yes, keeping watch over her would be difficult for us.  The son of Jerome has been watching her more closely than ever after that business on the other side of the continent.   But I have other allies who will keep us apprised of her movements,” he told his garment.  “They are already in position as a matter of fact.  Thanks to them I know Cassandra is in Connecticut right now, visiting the very friends who helped kill your parent.”

This time the ebony shroud did not move.

He was not surprised.  The being was primitive in many ways.  Loyalty to its progenitor was not part of the creature’s nature.  Then again, it wasn’t his either.  After all he did share a lineage with his intended target.  He’d even orchestrated her birth, but only to make sure the bloodline was as close and true to that of the original ‘key’.


****REVIEWS NEEDED ON SMASHWORDS****

I’m looking for honest reviews of my 2nd paranormal/mystery novel “The Ship” for my Smashwords site. Recently there’s been a lot of traffic over there but no sales. Part of the problem may be the fact that there’s been only one review done on the book at Smashwords.
Multiple reviews spurs more sales, so if anyone is interested in doing a review I’m willing to supply you with a free e-copy of the book from the Smashwords site.

For those not familiar with the story here’s the blurb from the back cover of the book:

Cassandra Elliott is a billionaire heiress, who has just come out of the closet. She’s also a powerful psychic who has seen incredible and terrifying things. In fact, just two weeks ago, she and her girlfriend Julie Cloudfoot, survived a horrific battle alongside their two friends Alex Hill and Veronica Ross. They faced a being from a parallel reality where evolution took a much different course than in this version of Earth.

As a result of that encounter the two of them have come to Santa Cruz to bury one of their own as well as to see if their knew relationship will work out.

While taking a surfing class Cassie finds herself under attack and barely escapes with her life. But this is only the beginning. Whatever attacked her left a mark on her leg and now she is experiencing terrifying visions and senses the approach of something hiding in the fog. A legendary ghost ship is coming for her. However this is no ordinary nightmare of the sea. This vessel is alive and wants to make her a part of it, literally…

*So let me know if you are interested and what e-book format you need (Nook, Mobi, Kindle, Sony, Apple, or even PDF)*

If you want to sample the book before committing yourself just click on the link below and click on the version you need where it says “First 20% Sample”…

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


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.

 


All good things must come to an end and my week-long $0.99 cent deal is no exception…

How time flies!  But never fear, everyone still has a chance to take advantage of this sale.  Both “THE BRIDGE” and “THE SHIP”, the first and second books in my paranormal/mystery series, are available in all e-book formats and countries for just $0.99 cents a piece until midnight.

*So please spread the word to others and claim your own copies before the clock strikes midnight here in California*

Both books can be found at Amazon, AmazonUK, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and others.

Here are the links:

Smashwords (for Nook, Sony, Apple, or PDF file for you computer):https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/1383

“THE BRIDGE” Book 1 in the Para-Earth Series:

Alex Hill buried his psychic talents for eighteen years. But with the scream of tires and twisting metal all this changes.

His girlfriend, Police Sergeant Veronica Ross, is nearly run down by two teenagers leaving her depressed and troubled. After calming her down they get a call from the Coroner’s office and learn that both the driver and passenger of the wrecked car had already been dead for almost twelve hours before the accident. Furthermore, they hadn’t been killed in any vehicle accident, the pair had been drowned.

Upon hearing this Alex feels his powers stirring again and goes with Veronica to see the coroner to learn more. But, as soon as they reach the doors of the Morgue he is psychically assaulted by an unknown force.

Taking the attack as a warning, he tries to resist getting involved further. But, his talents soon lead him directly to the place where the teenagers died. It is the stream underneath an old stone bridge that is supposedly haunted by the White Lady.

But the real problem for Alex is the fact that both the bridge and stream are on the Graham Estate. The very property he is now representing as a real estate agent.

Soon the body count begins to rise, and each new death is somehow attached to the stream. And as the only person with full access to the estate, suspicion starts to fall on Alex. Especially when it’s discovered he does not have a solid alibi for any of the incidents.

Now, in order to clear his name and learn what force is behind all the killings, Alex must decide whether or not to embrace the very abilities he shunned.

“THE SHIP” Book 2 in the Para-Earth Series:

What starts as a simple surfing lesson, turns into a struggle for survival for billionaire heiress Cassandra Elliott and her new love interest the Seneca shamaness Julie Cloudfoot.

Cassandra is knocked off her board by an unseen assailant that leaves a terrifying gash in her wetsuit, along with a small red mark on her leg. Soon, terrifying visions of a ghost ship begin haunting the heiress’ dreams. She begins to feel strangely drawn to the sea whenever a strange fog bank appears in the distance.

Is something hiding within the miasma, and what connection does it have to the legendary “Lost Colony of Roanoke”, and the tribe of Tuscarora Indians, that Julie is distantly related to…


That’s right, my big sale is coming to an end this Sunday at midnight. So if you haven’t arleady gotten an e-book copy of “THE BRIDGE” or “THE SHIP” you have until then to get one or both for just $.99 cents a piece.

If you already have bought them, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and ask that you please SPREAD THE WORD so others can take advantage before it’s too late.

Both books can be found at Amazon, AmazonUK, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and others.
Here are the links:

Smashwords (for Nook, Sony, Apple, or PDF file for you computer):https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/1383

“THE BRIDGE” Book 1 in the Para-Earth Series:

Alex Hill buried his psychic talents for eighteen years. But with the scream of tires and twisting metal all this changes.

His girlfriend, Police Sergeant Veronica Ross, is nearly run down by two teenagers leaving her depressed and troubled. After calming her down they get a call from the Coroner’s office and learn that both the driver and passenger of the wrecked car had already been dead for almost twelve hours before the accident. Furthermore, they hadn’t been killed in any vehicle accident, the pair had been drowned.

Upon hearing this Alex feels his powers stirring again and goes with Veronica to see the coroner to learn more. But, as soon as they reach the doors of the Morgue he is psychically assaulted by an unknown force.

Taking the attack as a warning, he tries to resist getting involved further. But, his talents soon lead him directly to the place where the teenagers died. It is the stream underneath an old stone bridge that is supposedly haunted by the White Lady.

But the real problem for Alex is the fact that both the bridge and stream are on the Graham Estate. The very property he is now representing as a real estate agent.

Soon the body count begins to rise, and each new death is somehow attached to the stream. And as the only person with full access to the estate, suspicion starts to fall on Alex. Especially when it’s discovered he does not have a solid alibi for any of the incidents.

Now, in order to clear his name and learn what force is behind all the killings, Alex must decide whether or not to embrace the very abilities he shunned.

“THE SHIP” Book 2 in the Para-Earth Series:

What starts as a simple surfing lesson, turns into a struggle for survival for billionaire heiress Cassandra Elliott and her new love interest the Seneca shamaness Julie Cloudfoot.

Cassandra is knocked off her board by an unseen assailant that leaves a terrifying gash in her wetsuit, along with a small red mark on her leg. Soon, terrifying visions of a ghost ship begin haunting the heiress’ dreams. She begins to feel strangely drawn to the sea whenever a strange fog bank appears in the distance.

Is something hiding within the miasma, and what connection does it have to the legendary “Lost Colony of Roanoke”, and the tribe of Tuscarora Indians, that Julie is distantly related to…
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