Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Importance Of Leaving Book Reviews...

About this time last year I wrote a post about book reviews, trying to explain why they are so important to authors.  I explained at length about how prospective readers take note of what others have said about a book when trying to decide whether or not to give it a try.  

But did you know that the number of reviews a book gets can affect how much promotion it can get on Amazon.com?  It's true.  Take a look:


So you see, your reviews have more power than you thought.  Even if all you feel comfortable writing is just a couple of sentences like "Kept me on the edge of my seat...", "Couldn't put it down...", "I want to see more from this author...", "I really enjoyed this, can't wait for more..." 

Those sentences plus a 1-5 star rating can help that author and their work get more exposure on Amazon.  This is something that is extremely helpful for Indie and brand new authors who are trying to get their name out there, but may not have hardly any budget to spend on getting their books listed on other sites. 

So please, take the time to leave a review, no matter how short or long.  You could be doing your favorite authors a HUGE favor, and believe me when I say, "We authors will appreciate it."

My book first book, "The Bridge" is sitting at 19 reviews so just a few more could really help it gain more exposure.  "The Ship", my second novel, is sitting at lonely 8 reviews, so if you've already read it, please leave a rating and a few kinds words so it can get more attention too. 

You can reach both books at my Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/allankrummenacker

But don't just do it for me, do it for other authors whose work you enjoy.  Help them become the next Stephen King, JK Rowling, or Suzanna Collins.  Remember, you the readers are what makes a book or an author a hit or a miss.  

Thank you all for your help and support, and remember keep writing because one day it might be your work the rest of us are trying to help promote.  

P. S.: "The Door"and "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" are both on track for a DOUBLE-RELEASE just in time for the holidays so stay tuned. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

How I Chose My Collaborators - Part 2

In the first half of this discussion I talked about collaborating with my wife Helen and how much of an impact she's had on my writing.  


Today I would like to introduce you all to my other cohort in crime, mischief, nonsense, lunacy, chaos, and other things too numerous to mention, as well as writing.  

Richard Caminiti and I go back as far as Levittown Memorial High School (Go Panthers).  Mind you shortly after we graduated the school was closed.  Coincidence?  You decide.

I cannot count he number of hours Rich and I spent together both in and out of school.  We shared a number of interests such as science fiction, the paranormal, and a number of great friends.  He was also involved in the Nassau County Auxillary Police and still has his badge from those days.

But when I left Levittown, Long Island (New York State), in 1985 I lost touch with him an so many others.  So I was not there to watch him rise up through the ranks from police officer to Sergeant.  Nor was I around when he served as part of the Volunteer Fire Department as an EMT/Firefighter. I was also not around for when he began one of the most intriguing jobs he's had, namely Paranormal Investigator (which he still does).   He's seen and debunked a lot of things and helped to put people's minds at rest, but he has also encountered phenomenon that is less easily explained and is a true believer in the paranormal.  

So you can easily see why I felt so lucky and thrilled that thanks to FB, after 20+ years of being out of touch, to be in contact with him again.  Especially when we started to Skype and it felt like very little time had actually passed since the last time we got to sit down together.  Much had happened for each of us in those years, but the camaraderie we shared had not diminished in the slightest.  So when he asked me to take a look at a writing project he'd been working on and off for the last two decades, I was only too glad to say yes.

What I found was very much a rough first draft of a science fiction/time travel story.  There was a lot of setting the scene in the future, and technobabble, which made it a bit dry reading but there wa sa real story here.  I was able to see the story he wanted to tell and where he intended to take it.  In short, it had potential.  With a bit of reworking his story had legs and wanted to run.  So during some Skype sessions I gave him a lot of the same advice I've shared on this blog in the past and acted as a sounding board as he came up with new ideas and helped guide him to rework what he had.  The newer versions I and others have seen are a great improvement and he is extremely fired up to keep it going. 

After seeing how far he was coming in such a short time, and because of our long friendship and shared interests, I was more than willing to agree to collaborate on a novel with him. I knew his strengths and insights, as well as how good we could work together.  And I enjoy our brainstorming sessions and how thoroughly he cares about accuracy when it comes to writing in a historical setting.  Which is what we're doing currently.  "The Pass" will be our first joint project and will involve some interesting supernatural entities that one might not think of blending together for a piece.  But I assure you all, we're being careful and making sure the beings we incorporate have reasons for being in this setting.  History and the supernatural will be meeting in this tale set during the waining years of the Civil War, but the battlefront will not be on fields of Gettysburg or Atlanta.  This story will be set on west coast and involve a famous pass who's name is associated with people who tried to travel through it during a terrible winter back in the 1840's.

We plan on keeping you all updated on our progress and I'll be helping my partner create a blog of his own so you can all get to know him better.  He's wealth of knowledge and is only too happy to share with others, which makes him an excellent storyteller, collaborator and very dear friend.


So there you have it folks.  Choosing to work with someone on a collaboration is not easy by any means.  But if you truly feel you can rely on the individual in question and that the two of you can really work as one, then give it a shot. 

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Wish To Interrupt This Blog With An Important Question...

I've been having a tough time getting a completed 1st draft of "The Door" finished by the end of this summer as I originally planned.  The story is coming along very nicely, however I had planned on releasing it in late September/early October, which is becoming less and less likely.



Furthermore, I had already planned on releasing "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" in December to catch the holiday crowds.  



So I would like to know how you would feel about a "Double-Release" in December?

I have been hearing from a number of people who have been clamoring for one or both books, and I'm perfectly at ease with the idea of releasing both at or around the same time.  

Furthermore, I want to let you all know that I've already got at least one other book lined up for the middle of next year, so you won't have to wait long for another installment.  

Please leave your thoughts on this idea in the comment section below.  Your opinions are important to me, so please take advantage of this opportunity to express your feelings and wishes.

Thank you.

PS: The next entry will go back to telling you all about my collaborators and how I chose them.  Until then, keep writing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How I Chose My Collaborators - Part 1


After my first book "The Bridge" came out and the 4 and 5 star reviews started coming in, I got a lot of congratulations and support.  I also started seeing something else coming in... requests to work on collaborations.  This was both flattering and disconcerting to me.   I was still very new at this whole publishing business and wasn't all that confident in my skills at that point.  I knew I needed more experience and didn't want to wind up dragging someone else's work down if I'd simply gotten lucky my first time out.  Especially since I was hearing some concerns about the editing in the first version and wound up redoing the book with extra help getting it in better shape.   


Still the requests for collaborating kept appearing every so often.  When "The Ship" (my 2nd novel) came out the requests started in again.  By this time I was more confident in my skills, I'd learned a lot after "The Bridge" and had gone out of my way to make sure "The Ship" was in even better shape.
Still I wasn't feeling comfortable with the idea of collaborating with anyone... except possibly my wife Helen, who had been my science expert and sounding board for both books.  Furthermore, back when I was still working on "The Bridge" she had a dream and was seeing through the eyes of one of my characters Police Sergeant Veronica Ross.  In the dream Helen/Veronica had come across a murder scene and found a strange older man examining the corpse.  She got a good look at the fellow and was able to give me a good description of him; fifties, curly hair slightly graying, glasses, shortish, and just a little heavyset.  However, she knew he wasn't a police officer but an intruder, so she drew her weapon and told him to 'freeze'.  Instead he looked up at her and put his finger to his lips, and then did a flip out the window.  Rushing to the window Helen/Veronica saw they were on the second floor of a house and the man landed nimbly on the ground and took off with a speed and agility that belied his appearance.

Another thing she told me was the fact that she just knew this guy was not a villain, but someone who knew about the 'Para-Earths' and that he would be a valuable character to introduce down the road.  I readily agreed, but felt awkward about using this fellow she nicknamed 'The Professor'.  Eventually he was given a real name of Otto Hoffstadter and I had hopes of bringing him in '"The Door".  However, when I started working on "The Door" the story wasn't coming along very well and I started working on another story with a whole new set of characters which became "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" (which will be out this December).  As that story came developed, Helen asked me if it were possible that my vampyre Nathaniel might have met Otto.  I nearly jumped for joy at that point.  The personality she'd developed for Otto was the perfect match up for Nathaniel, so I established a history between the two and incorporated Otto into that book instead of "The Door".


Even as I wrote "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" and used Otto, I kept checking with her about how my interpretation of Otto, was I using him right and getting the personality down right?  She gave me honest feedback and I made changes, but as I did so it occurred to me that I might need her even more in the sequel story.  I also decided I wanted to use Otto in another book that continues the story of two secondary characters from "The Ship" (Johnny Cloudfoot and his girlfriend Michelle).  By this time, I knew I wanted to work WITH Helen on both of those stories.  Besides, being my sounding board for ideas, she'd also been acting as my science consultant.  Her knowledge of scientific facts has been a huge asset to my writing.

But most important of all, I knew we could work together quite easily.  We've worked in companies together in the past and always made a great team.  I know some people were like "How could you work in the same place with your spouse?  I'd go crazy.  Going to work gives me a break from mine and I need it..."  However, Helen and I actually love spending as much time together, even if it's at a job.  So working on a collaboration actually feels like the most natural thing for us.  I still plan to work on some books and stories on my own, but I'll also be helping her with some original tales of her own that are set in my Para-Earth Series.  She knows these realities as well as I do and has some great ideas that I want to see become a reality.  I'll be introducing some of her work here and over on "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition" blog soon.

However, she is not the only person I'm working with.  The other, was a very dear friend from high school who approached me to look over a story he'd been working on for the last twenty years.  Naturally I was flattered by his request, but I was still a little unsure about my own level of skills. Doing a blog about writing was one thing and working with Helen was another.  But this was a whole new kettle of fish and I really needed to think about it...


TO BE CONTINUED IN MY NEXT ENTRY....





Saturday, August 8, 2015

***NUMBER 1 ON AMAZON'S BESTSELLERS LIST****



"The Ship" hit #1 on Amazon's Bestseller list.  

and...


it hit #1 on Amazon UK's Bestseller list

And there's still time to get a copy for yourself or a friend.  Click on the link below and then share this entry with everyone you know so they can take advantage too.

NOTE: This free giveaway ends at midnight Sunday August 9th so act quickly and thank you for all your support.

****FREE THIS WEEKEND ONLY****

"THE SHIP" 



Book 2 in my Para-Earth Series is free for all Kindle Users from now until midnight tomorrow, so grab a copy and spread the word to everyone you know.  


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

As a result of their previous adventure, 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”




Thursday, August 6, 2015

*END OF SUMMER WEEKEND SPECIAL -- COMING UP*



Summer is slowly drawing to a close, especially for me. University will be starting up on the 24th, and I had 2 FREE days left to use over on Amazon Select, so YOU get a treat.

Book 2 in my Para-Earth Series will be available for ALL Kindle users this weekend (Aug. 8-9).

Book Synopsis:

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”

Remember, Book 3 "The Door" is coming soon and the events in this story will have a direct effect on what comes. So don't miss out. So spread the word and be ready to take advantage of this giveaway.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

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.*




Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cover Art For Books: Choosing What's Right Not Only For You But Your Audience

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.




Monday, July 13, 2015

Life's Been Getting In The Way Again...


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.




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trying Not To Lose Your Way When 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...













Saturday, June 27, 2015

*ATTN: ALL KINDLE USERS, BOOK 2 IN MY PARA-EARTH SERIES IS FREE UNTIL MIDNIGHT MONDAY JUNE 29TH*

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

Monday, June 22, 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different...An Explanation About Why I Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited!



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 all these giveaways will increase the reviews for both books that 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.





Saturday, June 20, 2015

FREE For All Kindle Users - This Weekend Only (June 20-21st, 2015)

*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. 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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"The Ship", Book 2 of the Para-Earth Series, Is Now FREE On Kindle Unlimited!

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




That's right Kindle Unlimited subscribers can now get "The Ship", book two int he Para-Earth Series for FREE through Amazon.  This book has been given 5-star reviews and is available to you now through Kindle Unlimited.

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: 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"The Bridge" Book One In My Para-Earth Series Is Available For Free On Kindle Unlimited...

*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 to everyone you know.  Thank you and happy reading everyone...


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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Move Along, Move Along...

The band called the All-American Rejects, wrote a song called "Move Along" which has always stuck with me.  It did so even more when I saw the video which at one point involves a member of the band falling backwards into what appears to be an empty swimming pool.  But just as he's in mid-air, the scene shifts to a side view where we see a bunch of hands rise up out of the empty pool to catch and support him.  

That's what a lot of you have been doing for me since my last entry and I want to say a huge "THANK YOU!"  So many of you encouraged me saying, "You'll find a way forward..." or  "Are you absolutely sure there's no way to unite the two ideas, it sounds awesome?" These comments came to me here, on FB and over on Google+.  

After reading all this feedback and dwelling on the problem I finally realized I was dealing with another "Rubik's Cube" (For those not familiar with what I mean by this, here's a link to an entry I did a while back about writing and Rubik's Cubes: Writing and Rubik's Cubes).  


So I took a few steps back and gave the problem some thought...


Okay, I gave it a LOT of thought...

Eventually, I came to a realization...  I thought I had only two paths because both led to storylines that I already had planned.  In short, I had become paralyzed by my own vision of what I wanted to have happen in my series.  But those stories had not been written yet, nor were they cast in stone.  I was still in command.  The Para-Earth Series was mine to create, and design however I wanted.  The important thing was to make the journey interesting and entertaining for my readers, which many of you have told me repeatedly I do very well.   

So instead of choosing either of the two paths I had before me, I did something else...


I grabbed the road I was already on and took it in a whole new direction which allowed me to marry the two ideas and make them work.  It took a lot of thinking on my part but I've done it.  The mysterious carnival people and Nathaniel will be appearing in "The Door".  There will still be many unanswered questions about both, but in Nathaniel's case a lot of those will be answered in December.  As for the strange people from the carnival, their time is coming as well.  You will see more of them in upcoming books before meeting them personally.  But meet them you will my friends.  They're story may actually become an anthology of short stories written from the point of view of one who will join their ranks because it will be the only place he can be safe.  You will also learn how the carnival's origins are connected to the ghostly Brandon, who watches over Cassandra, and will have all his secrets revealed in "The Door".

There are plenty of surprises in store for you all within the pages of this novel in progress.  So stay tuned.  

But for now I want to say, "Thank you everyone, for supporting and believing in me and my abilities as a writer."  I will always do my best to create stories that will take you places you never expected, and make you laugh and even cry along the way.  But always, I'll try to deliver a good product that leaves you feeling elated and full of wonder at the end.

Until next time... take care of yourselves and keep writing.

And one more thing.  For those who are interested in checking out the music video for "Move Along" I'm adding the link just below.  I find the song very helpful and uplifting at times and I hope you do as well.  Enjoy...



Saturday, May 16, 2015

What to do? What to do?

University is done so I'm free to write once more, my computer is running nicely, and I'm full of ideas.  "So what's the problem?" I hear you ask.  Well... remember that blog entry I recently did about a certain 'whale' I had to let get away... (For those who missed that entry here's the link: http://allankrummenacker.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-tale-of-whale-who-got-away.html).  Well, I'm finding myself in the same position once again.  And since it's happening in the here and now, I thought I'd share my thought processes and reasoning with you all, in the hopes it might help you should you find yourself in a similar dilemma.


So I stand at a crossroads, trying to weigh my options about whether or not to cut a scene I truly love and think is totally amazing?  I have this wonderful scene where one of my four lead characters is involved in a wreck down in the subway tunnels of New York City.  She was targeted by a mysterious stalker who has been following her through "The Bridge" and "The Ship" and is now finally making his move.  But even after slaughtering an entire train of people, he manages to incapacitate her only to lose her to a mysterious 'carnival troupe' whose old-fashioned train and cars are somehow appears on the scene inside those same subway tunnels.  Driven off before he can take his prize, the mysterious folks of the 'carnival' take his prey to safety under the watchful eye of the girl's ghostly ancestor.  Sounds great right?  Plus it raises so many questions like "Why would an old-fashioned circus train (without animals) be traveling on the subway lines in the first place?"  Furthermore, we would've seen these strange folks who look more like relics from an old-fashioned "Freak Show" demonstrate unusual abilities and talents.  

So why would I want to remove such a powerful and intriguing scene?  Because this would be the only time they show up in the book.  I didn't have anything else for them to do later on.  Furthermore, they would not show up again until 2-3 books from now.  What good would that do my audience?  I'd be leaving everyone hanging and I don't like that idea.  Oh I could easily beef up their role and have them reappear several times in this book, working behind the scenes to aid our heroes, but it would wind up being a more complicated story to follow, unless I was very careful.

That is one path at this crossroads that I could follow.  The other path, would lead directly into my next novel "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home".  How would this happen you may ask.  The answer is simple.  Last December, I wrote a short story in my other blog "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition".  It was a six part story (I prefer to use small installments on blogs) which added up to a novelette which I may release one day down the road.  Within that story I took several characters who appear in my first two books  (namely Veronica, Julie, Roy and Julie's uncle Jason) and set the clock back some fifteen years ago.  In that story they met two men who aided them in finding a very young Julie who had become lost in a snowstorm and was menaced by a strange creature.  One of the two men was Nathaniel Steward, my vampyre, who as you all know will have his own book coming out this December.  Since he is already known to several of the characters in "The Door", I started thinking about introducing him in this novel to play a supporting role to my heroes.  This made more and more sense to me since I could see him helping from the shadows at times, as well as having a scene in the epilogue which would lead him directly into his own story.  This is something I've done in the previous two books.  I always have a plot that leads directly into the next book, so this idea makes more and more sense to me.

However if I used Nathaniel it would mean...

...cutting the train scene beneath the streets of New York City.

Why is this so hard?  Because I put so much research into laying that scene out.  I checked time tables, routes, where the nearest hospital would be in relation to where I had the action taking place... the works.  Yet, try as I might, I could never reconcile those mysterious carnival people with the rest of the story.  

You see, I actually started "The Door" two years ago BEFORE I started "The Ship".  However, I kept running up against problem after problem with the story.  Which was why I put it aside and decided to explore what happened to Cassie and Julie over in Santa Cruz.  That story came fast and easy by comparison and produced good results.  But even after coming back to "The Door" with a whole new load of information from what happened in "The Ship", I still couldn't really see a clear path forward.  
But then I thought of Nathaniel and things seem to be clicking into place.   Not everything is perfect mind you.  By adding him in I have to create entire new scenes, but I feel like the road is a little more clear for where the story should go.  

As you can tell, I've pretty much made up my mind where I'm going.  It's just really hard to let go of that "train wreck scene".  But I'm going to anyway.  I thought about combining Nathaniel and the carnival people, and have him appear on board that mysterious train, but his presence there is too much of a coincidence.  It makes more sense to have him appear at Jason's old house since he has a history with the deceased and has come to pay his respects.  Plus it gives me more room to have him interact with Julie who has known him since she was little and is now wondering why he hasn't aged  at all in fifteen years.  Will she learn the truth that her late uncle knew about Nathan's true nature?  If she does how will she react to this revelation?  And what part will he play in this story before all is said and done?  You'll have to wait and see.

And for that matter so will I.  The thing about writing is sometimes there's not a road or path before us.  So we writers have to make one ourselves, one that is right for us and our creations, which makes the journey so much more interesting.  So until next time, take care of yourselves and keep creating those roads that have not yet been traveled my friends.



  P. S. : If any of you missed that short story involving Nathan, Julie, Jason, Veronica and Roy, here's the links:







Sunday, May 3, 2015

Update On My Business Cards...

I'm sure most of you will remember that I got some business cards for "The Vampyre Blogs" which I will be releasing in December of this year.  I know a lot of people wished me luck and were curious to find out whether or not I've seen any difference in the traffic to the ongoing blog that goes by the same name.


So today I'm taking the opportunity to tell you what's happened in the two weeks since the cards arrived.  As you can guess, I began handing out cards up at the university the very next day.  I left some lying around in the coffee shop area, as well as in the lounge where students hang out to be found by anyone who happened to sit down in either of those areas.  I also handed cards out personally in my classes saying, "Here's some free reading you can enjoy during the summer break, especially if you like vampires..."  

Very few people declined, while others asked for extra cards.  They became even more excited when I explained that what they would find at the blog site were basically short stories by the characters who would appear in the novel itself.  You should've seen the smiles on their faces widen when I assured them that the book was going to be a brand new story in and of itself and not a compilation of  the short stories they'd be finding on the site.  One person smiled and shook her head saying, "Too bad you went with vampires and not zombies..."  At that point I smiled back and told her, "Well, actually there will be a type of zombie involved that the vampyre  will be battling..."  and that was as far as I got because she was already trying to bring up the blog site. 

As for actual views on the site, in the two weeks since I first started handing out the cards I have seen an increase in the traffic already.  Normally the site averaged around 200-225 views  per month.  April ended with 340+ views and this month is coming along nicely as well.  There would be days in which no one would visit the site, but now I'm seeing double-digits on practically a daily basis.  Whether or not this will  continue, I cannot say.  But I'll keep posting new material and updating you all again in the near future.  

I've also created a FB page for "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition" site which has already broken the 100 mark for likes and followers.  I've been posting the links to the earliest entries on the blog since there are over 40 short stories to be found there.  I'm also giving everyone some insight into what thoughts were in my head when I made each post.  This is something I do not do on the blog site itself, since I try to let my 'Characters' do all the posting there so they can share their thoughts and experiences.  

If you're on FB and would like to check it out here's the FB page link:


My next step will be to start mailing out small stacks of the cards to friends who offered to hand them out to family, friends, and  coworkers.  I'll be making a list of all the people who offer to hand them out for me, so when the book comes out I can give them a signed paperback copy as a way of saying "Thanks for all your support and help."  If anyone here would like to volunteer to distribute my cards, please let me know, I'll be happy to add you to the list and get a stack out to you.

Remember, getting the word out about your books is sometimes way harder than actually writing the story.  So make sure you start letting people know about your book, a few months before it actually comes out.  But make sure it's a book that you've actually got done, and not one your thinking about writing one day.  People hear that kind of thing all the time and think, "Yeah, right.  You're going to write a book, I'll believe it when I see it."  Let them know it's done and is just going through some final editing.  Maybe even show them some cover art so they can see you ARE serious.  Which reminds me, I need to get my art easel set up.  I've got the first drafts done, but no cover yet.  

So until next time, take care and keep writing everyone.