*Update from Allan: Last week, while awaiting the arrival of a replacement laptop for me, our desktop computer gave up the ghost. This left us with just Helen’s laptop which she needs for college accounting courses. So our release date for “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” has been pushed back until “Twelfth Night” or January 5th, 2018. We chose this because with the holidays coming we will have a harder time getting things done like beta-reader testing, edits, artwork finished, cover art, and formatting the book. Furthermore, December is notoriously a bad time for independent authors to get much visibility due to the big publishing companies dominating advertising for the Christmas rush.
In the meantime, here is another sneak peek into the anthology. This installment is one that I feel really shows off Helen’s skills in setting, mood, and storytelling. We hope you enjoy what you see and we’ll keep you posted on when pre-orders will be available. Happy reading everyone…
THE EYES UNDER THE SOFA
Tim was bored. It was another long summer day in a summer that was made ever longer by their move to a house in the country. He didn’t know any kids in the area, and even if he did, it wouldn’t make any difference because it was too far to walk anywhere if he didn’t tell his folks where he was going first. That was unfair. It was unfair, too, that they had moved in the first place. He couldn’t believe his folks actually thought he’d like it out here, where there was nothing for miles but rocks and trees, and stupid hick people, and dirt and snakes.
Nothing happened out here. At least, nothing exciting. Back home (home was still the city, this was just the new house) there were games in the street, and rollerblading on the sidewalks. If you bladed fast and were quiet, you could go right past the old folks carrying home their groceries, and scream at the last minute so they’d get scared and drop them. And sometimes one of the older kids would get in a fight and get cool bandages. And you could hear fire engines and police sirens and ambulances.
Out here all you ever heard was the wind in the trees. It didn’t even sound the same as wind did back home, gusty and thudding. It was like being at the ocean, all the noise dying into a murmur. He could hear himself breathe. He could probably hear Killer breathe.
Killer was Tim’s cat. Killer was all black, so when he was in a dark place, all you ever saw were two shining eyes. He usually did hide in dark places, too, under furniture, so that he could reach out from underneath to attack passing ankles. There was a dangerous sort of energy in that cat, the strength, the obsession, the ruthlessness of an army compacted down into a twelve pound package– at least when he wasn’t curled up in a lap or taking a nap.
If Tim could find Killer, they could play. Killer got bored out here, too. No more cockroaches to kill and carry around in his mouth. Not that he shouldn’t be able to find enough other disgusting little things to play with out here. But he hadn’t been himself since they moved a month ago. He was shying at corners, sniffing and bristling as he looked at empty spaces.
Tim laughed. “Killer, are you afraid of the bogeyman? Didn’t you know mom and dad moved us out here ‘cause it’s safer?” Sure it was safer. Mom hadn’t liked it when he’d told her about the neat pistol Bobby had brought to school last May. But here the guys probably all had hunting rifles. “Killer, where are you?”
Scuffling came from the family room. That was where all the comfortable furniture was, the stuff that had come with them from the city. The stuff in the living room was all ‘country’, which his mom liked and he would like to make kindling of. That was an idea, Tim told himself. We got a fireplace now.
Tim went in search of the scuffling noise. Maybe Killer had found a rat. He could take it and put it where his mom would find it and maybe she’d be so grossed out they could move back home. Not likely.
He could hear the noise more clearly. It was coming from under the big, fluffy sofa, and it was kind of a growl, repeated once in awhile, and a lot of scuffling and scratching. Yeah, Tim thought, Killer’s found a rat.
Dropping to his knees, he bent down and twisted his head so he could look under the sofa. It was tricky, because the furniture was so low. He had to almost lie against the hardwood floor to do it. But under the couch were two big yellow eyes.
“Killer,” Tim called, hesitating a moment. The eyes didn’t look real friendly. Of course, they wouldn’t– not if Killer was really going after something…
FROM THE DESK OF CAPTAIN BRIAN WESTON OF THE UNION ARMY – June 30th, 1863
“A Letter To My Wife”
My Beloved Madeleine,
I know you have been troubled by how distracted I seemed last we were together. I know I told you it was simply the weight of being responsible for not one but two companies of men. But with our division on the eve of what may possibly be the biggest battle we’ve faced to date, I feel it only right to explain myself in case I fail to return, especially with the approach of our firstborn mere months away. I want our baby to know that my thoughts were never far from home, nor was there a mistress or dalliance that had captured my heart. There has only been you and no other.
Actually, it is an old friend, whose unexpected return one cold night in January, who has occupied so much of my mind. Of course, you will correctly surmise that I am referring to young Nathaniel Stewart. After believing him lost at Mary’s Heights, his sudden reappearance weeks later raised more than a few eyebrows and murmurings among the men. But then it became clear he had come back to us not as a deserter, but as a hero.
Why did I not mention that last fact to you earlier? I have been under orders from the President himself to be remain silent on the matter, but with the war so unpredictable, and having recently just escaped death thanks to young Nathan, I feel it only right that you know everything.
As I already indicated, it began early this year, January 2nd. Night had fallen and my men had already turned in for the night when a carriage arrived. It had been stopped at the gate and then sent right through, which is highly irregular. Even Colonel —-, had not been notified of the late arrival, nor was he summoned to the meeting that followed. Instead our late night visitors came straight to my quarters.
“Nathan?” I breathed, before finally remembering my place and greeted the President smartly.
“At ease, Captain,” my superior instructed. “This meeting is of course not a social call, but a matter of great delicacy. It will help decide the fate of this young man.”
My legs nearly failed me. Seeing Nathan alive after nearly a month’s unexplained absence, I had feared that I would have to brand him a coward and order a firing squad come morning.
For anyone wondering why I haven’t posted much lately, three weeks ago my portable laptop became too unreliable to trust with writing. First the tabs I had open kept crashing on me so I couldn’t even keep one open.
Around the same time it insisted my flash drive stick had errors only to scan it and find it clean. Then another area of the hard drive crashed which led to me to believe I could not risk my stories with it. As a result of all this, the laptop has been declared deceased and I am without any computer to use at work where I’ve done most of my weekly writing.
Now, I still have my desktop at home, but my daily commute (round trip) is between 2-3 hours which means I’m not in much of a writing mood when I finally get back after a long day at work. Once I get home, I wish to spend time with my honey more than anything, plus I’m pretty tired.
In good news, I will have a new laptop in another 2-3 weeks . So until then my writing and online availability will be more limited. I’ll see you all when I can until then. In the meantime be well and I’ll pop in when I can.
While you’re waiting to see more here, please take comfort in knowing that what little computer time I’ve had has not been wasted. Helen and I have been very busy on getting ” The Vampyre Blogs – One Day at a Time” ready for release on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This anthology has grown to 25 stories (a third of which are “All-New” never before seen tales that were created just for this collection). While Nathan appears in over half of the tales, not all of them focus on our favorite vampyre. Helen and I see The Vampyre Blogs as an ensemble piece so you’ll be getting stories involving Otto, Lisa, Marisa and others who’ve appeared not only in the vampyre books, but also other books in the Para-Earth Series.
So please stay tuned and know that more new stories will be appearing here again soon. And thank you all for your patience and support.
With the completion of Nathan and Otto’s rather lengthy adventure with the Unicorns and Terror Raptors, I thought now might be a good time to let you all know that Helen and I have been hard at work on a brand new Vampyre Blogs book. This volume is set to be released just after this coming Thanksgiving, so you only have to wait another four months to get your hands on this latest installment of the Para-Earth Series.
However… unlike the first book, this one will be an anthology instead of a novel. We will be taking select entries from this nearly four year old blog site to be included in the anthology. Now you may be asking yourself, why put a bunch of stories that are available online into a collection? Well, I’d been getting some e-mails and messages on Facebook, that newcomers to the site telling us that they loved Nathan and company, but found scrolling through so many pages to get to the earlier stories was a bit tedious to say the least.
Upon repeatedly hearing this, Helen and I went over the site and found that had created almost fifty different stories. And while some of them were short, others were so long that they could have anywhere from two to six separate entries to tell entire tale.
While going over some of the earlier and more recent entries, I also began to notice some glaring problems that had been overlooked when they were originally published. This was the direct result of the fact that all of the stories in this blog were basically 1st drafts. Meaning of course they were not fully edited so the ‘occasional’ (massive understatement) misspelling or less-then-perfect punctuations appear in a number of them.
However I can tell you now that all the stories going into the anthology will be getting edited and have a few tweeks made to them for better clarity of reading. Also, the stories will be put in a chronological order. This means they will appear in the anthology by according to when the character telling the tale originally wrote/experienced the adventure. Furthermore, some adjustments being made to some of the stories to create a more smooth timeline for who met who when.
The purpose of doing these ‘adjustments’ is so that the readers can have a better idea of how each of these life events shaped the characters’ personalities before they appear in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.
And as they say on television…
Both Helen and I agreed right off the bat that any anthology we created needed to have new never-before seen tales in it. In this case, out of the 23-24 stories we currently have lined up for the anthology, six to seven (about a third) of the stories are completely NEW and will not be appearing on this site. Several of these new tales involve Nathan’s ‘long-time’ Otto, aka “The Professor”, who made his debut in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”. Both his introduction in the novel and his comment, “Apparently, I am am made of NOPE…” have caught the imagination of our readers who have been clamoring for more details on this strange man who Nathan looks up to as a mentor, as well as friend.
Also, since Helen and I are both artists, we are going to try and add some original pen and ink artwork to a number of the stories. We will also be placing either an Intro or an Afterthought to each tale explaining either how the story came to be.
We are also planning more anthologies for the future, not only for the Vampyre Blogs, but also the rest of the characters appearing in Para-Earth Series such as: Alex Hill, Veronica Ross (who along with her boss Roy Petersen – appear in two of the tales in this anthology) and their friends…
Our goal is to release “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day at a Time” on Black Friday or Cyber Monday at the latest, so add it to your holiday wish list, or think about someone you know who’d love a good read on those cold winter nights.
Finally, we are also exploring another avenue with the Para-Earths namely… AUDIOBOOKS! We’ve had a number of people asking us if and when we’d make the books available in that form. So currently we are looking into that area and will be providing updates soon. With we might even have a couple of short stories in audio form for free, to be released just in time for the holidays so we can get some feedback from all of you.
With all that said you can see we have a lot of plans for both The Vampyre Blogs and the rest of the Para-Earth Series in the works. But have no fears, new stories will still be appearing here as well. So stay with us and please help spread the word about Nathan, his friends, and the rest of the Para-Earth Series. The fun has just begun…
Barnes and Noble:
First I’d like to thank everyone who took advantage of my “Hobbit Birthday” party. Over 30 copies of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” were snatched up. While I would’ve loved to have seen triple digits, I’m not going to complain. The book got into more readers hands and that is always a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully, this will lead to some more reviews. Sadly, Nathan and company have been stuck in the single digits as far as reviews go on Amazon, with absolutely none on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.
So I’m going to offer everyone who is interested the opportunity to get a free copy of the book (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, PDF, even paperback) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Reviews are important to bringing a book to a wider audience. We all know that whenever we think about purchasing a book or almost anything these days, we check online to see what kind of rating the item has.
Naturally, I’d love to see a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, but I leave that up to the reviewers. I ask for honest and I mean it. If you found the book wasn’t to your taste and you don’t wish to leave a review, just let me know so I’m not left in limbo wondering what happened. The only thing I ask is that the reading and the review be done within 2 months of you getting the book. If by chance you volunteer and life gets in the way, again just let me know. Life happens to all of us including yours truly, so no worries. Just stay in touch is all I ask.
On another note…
I’m happy to announce that there will be an anthology involving Nathan and friends, which will be released this December. This volume will contain ‘select’ short stories from this blog. The reason for this is that I’ve been told by a number of people that they find it hard and boring scrolling through a bunch of old blog entries to find the short stories, even though they really want to read them. And since this blog is over two and a half years old, I know there’s a lot of stuff to wade through.
However, the anthology will not just contain stories from here, we are including 4-5 brand new stories just for the collection, which will NOT be reproduced here. They will only be found within the pages of the anthology itself. The total number of tales to appear in this first anthology has yet to be decided so stay tuned for more details.
In other news, book 2 of the Vampyre Blogs is now officially under way.
At this time “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” release date should be early October 2018 (which is why I’m releasing the anthology in the meantime, so as not to leave you all high and dry without anything new). The story will take place two weeks after the conclusion of the first novel and will open with Nathan’s return, along with new trouble brewing.
The presence of Isabella will raise new questions and concerns for all who dwell under his roof, while an unscrupulous developer tries to influence the upcoming town council elections so he can get his hands on 1000+ acres of land Nathan’s home stands on. Then there’s Marisa’s father. Are the cancer treatments he’s receiving really helping or will Nathan have to undergo a procedure that could leave him more vulnerable than ever to an attack from an old foe he believed had been vanquished?
Stay tuned to this blog learn more. And for anyone who wishes to be a reviewer, please e-mail me at:
Please include your name, e-mail address, and what book format you want and I’ll be in touch with you shortly.
Thank you all for your continued friendship and support. And rest assured the next entry to appear on this blog will be a brand new tale involving your favorite sci-fi vampyre and his friends.