Hello, world…

No, I’m not coming out as a computer simulation of a writer. I just want to directly and specifically welcome people to comment or email me, with their questions, comments, etc.

I know I was very shy about writing to writers I liked. Many writers have day jobs. The ones that write for a living have deadlines, contracts, pitches to make, queries to send, and so on. I worried that asking them to take time to respond to one person was impertinent and intrusive.

Now, I’m on the other end of the pen, as it were, and I can tell you– it can feel kind of lonely! When you’re on stage before an audience, you get continuous real time feedback from multitudes. When you paint, you do art shows and get to peek at people’s reactions as they look at your work. Sometimes they come over and tell you what spoke to them, or what well-known artist’s style you’re reminding them of. But there’s a time delay with writing, almost always. I have Allan read my stuff in front of me, often, because I want to gauge his reactions. When I sent out my main draft to my beta readers, I was lucky enough to have a couple who were moved to write to me in the middle of reading it. That was quite helpful– sure, I loved my book, but it needed to be good to other people.

I’ve fixed a typo a reader spotted that slipped by proofreading, and I suspect my Spanish and Russian dialogue has flaws. If you want to give me a correction, I am likely to find it helpful.

All this is a long way of saying, I really do value my readers and welcome feedback. I’d even be glad to know who is reading my blog, even if you haven’t gone for the book. Some people just like to see how writers think and plan. Where are you from, and how is life treating you?

What you write, vs. what you mean to write…

I didn’t write a horror book. At least, I didn’t think I did. I wrote a detective novel… with elements of supernatural danger.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RSGKTDF/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

But… while there was some scary scenes, the overall tone, I felt, was too optimistic to be horror. It was an adventure tale. A friend said she couldn’t read scary tales when I was writing it. At first I told her she’d need to skip a chapter and I’d give her a synopsis. Maybe two. Then she said Harry Dresden books were too scary for her. I told her to forget it. And I didn’t hold back when it came to the creep factor if I had a good idea to build the tension somewhere.

But it was not a horror story. I’d written horror before, short stories. Those were grim. Forever’s Too Long wasn’t grim. It was full of friendship and love, music and kindness. Levity was sprinkled throughout.

A coworker refused to read it on the grounds of she didn’t read scary stuff.

I rethought how I’d been looking at it. It was an adventure, yes, and a tale of friendship and love, but couldn’t you say the same about Dracula, which authentically was about Johnathan struggling to get to Mina, Mina resisting the call of the vampires, and friends coming together to fight the undead monster who had killed an innocent among them. You couldn’t call one of the classics of horror not horror just because it had a happy ending. And the creepy stuff was creepy enough I couldn’t push it on someone who couldn’t stand anything mildly scary.

So, I sent a copy to a friend who reviews horror. I’ll see whether she thinks it’s horror or not.

***

When Allan got the idea for The Vampyre Blogs: Coming Home, he wanted to write the story of a man who was changed by an encounter with a creature from a parallel Earth. In the Para-Earth series, infinite, or nearly so,  timelines exist and in some Earth exists, but evolution happened differently. In this case a kind of intelligent slime-mold formed a symbiotic relationship with the man blown into it’s universe. And although he gets home, he finds that as a result of the bonding he is to all intent a living vampire, with a very prolonged life. Yet over a century later, he must deal with a monster from that same universe which found its way into his world. I’m a co-author on that series, because, although Allan does the majority of the actual writing, I’ve done such extensive work with him on the science aspects, creature development, and character interactions, he sees me as co-creator.

Allan wanted to introduce him to the audience through the eyes of two teen girls, one who had known him since her earliest days, and another meeting him for the first time. A lot of the story revolves around them.

Over a year after it was released, a friend pointed out to him that he’d written a young adult novel. He re-read it and yes… the teens were really the ones with the most important story arcs, as they underwent more personal growth in that frame.

Okay, so he’d written a young adult novel and it was obvious once someone else said it.

More Reviews Are Coming In – Rafael and Company Are a Hit!

“Forever’s Too Long” just got its third 5-star review:

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June 16, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition
I’m not the best at reviews, however, with that said, I felt that Helen Krummenacker immersed herself into her first novel with stunning results. Raf is a wonderful character and a bit rough about the edges. The action flows from the beginning as well as the humor. There are a few tiny homages through personalities that I won’t give away, but I caught on! All in all an excellent read and can’t wait for the second book!
 

June 6, 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

May 31, 2019

Format: Paperback

Come and check it out for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

How can I support authors I like, you ask?

Well, maybe you don’t ask. But now you want to know, because once you fall in love with a book, you want more like it.

Review it! Many online stores and book sites allow readers to post reviews. A person is more likely to take a chance on a book that 50 people say they loved than 5 people say they do.

Recommend it! Readers have friends who read, and you likely have an idea of their tastes. A recommendation makes a person more likely to find out more about an unknown book. Some authors, such as J.K. Rowling, got further by word of mouth recommendations and kids buying it for their friends, than by traditional marketing methods.

Gift it! I’ve been running a special– the book retails at $12 each, but I’ve been running a 2 for $20 special via direct sales. It encourages people to either buy an extra as a present for a friend or talk them into buying one too and splitting the savings. And I’d never ask this, but two of my buyers spontaneously paid extra, so that someone who wanted it but couldn’t afford it could have a copy.

Speaking of buying direct– when I purchase a crate of books and sell them directly to people at list price, I get more of a share than the royalties if you buy from retailers. I imagine it works the same way for other authors. So don’t think you’re shorting us if you want a signed copy.

You’re also not wasting our time if you contact us with questions or wanting to share your thoughts. Art is about communication, and as FUN as it is for me to write Rafael Jones, I’m not just doing it for myself. Hearing from readers is very motivational. There’s a button to send me an email, or just use the comment area. I love you so much just for being interested enough in my work to come here.

5-Star Reviews for “Forever’s Too Long”…

The first installment of “The Forever Detective” series is now available in Trade Paperback and E-Book formats

And the review are just starting to come in…

5.0 out of 5 stars  “Clever writing without being campy

“This genre mashup of 1940s detective/vampire novel must have been a challenge for Helen Krummenacker to write, but she pulled it off beautfully….”
 
“Had so much fun reading this book…”
You can read the rest of the reviews by clicking on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF

Zero Hour. The book is available.

What a tense time. Will it sell? Will people review it? I know the book is good,  but making a splash when there are so many forms of entertainment out there isn’t easy.

This is the part where the audience keeps the writer in suspense. But don’t worry, I’m good at waiting: in fact, I’ll start right now.

On sale now at:

Nook:

     
Amazon: 
      AmazonUK:
      AmazonCA:
      AmazonAU:
     Smashwords:
Signed trade paperback copies are available upon request. Simply leave a comment in the section below, or e-mail me at: 

helenkrummenacker@gmail.com

Countdown to release: Character development

The wise-cracking, action detective is a bit of an archetype. What makes mine special,? Well, I thought it would be interesting if he was serious about music. Jazz helped define the era 1920-1940s, symbolizing moving away from formal traditions, opportunities for minorities and women to have their talents recognized, and a celebration of individuality. Raf’s love of jazz shapes who he is, lively and open-minded. As the years go on, he’ll be interacting with the music of different times, too, helping describe his relationship with the period. Another thing about Raf is that he mostly likes people. He’s no loner. His friends are an important part of his stories.

As for his friends, Eugene Marshall fits another archetype, the millionaire playboy. Except he’s both self-made *and* has autism symptoms. I didn’t want him to be obnoxious, so I looked for a way to make him a little vulnerable. The autism traits are taken from me. When Allan asked me, “Which of your characters are you most like: Rafael or Clara?” I had to say, “Honestly? Eugene.”

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Analytical and smart, but naive and not great at filtering what should be said and what shouldn’t in the speed of a conversation.

World War Two brought out the strength in a lot of women. Agent Carter is a large part of the inspiration for Clara Thomas, but so are the real women of Bletchley Park, the WAVES, WACs and WASPS, and so on. But too often a strong woman is considered enough ‘development’. I thought it would be great if her strength came out of her weakness– she’d been an abused woman and had help getting herself together. Going on missions rebuilt her confidence in herself. Her strength isn’t an innate gift, but the result of fighting back and finding her power. I think that’s not just a good example, but a way to push back against the stereotype that abuse victims choose victimhood.

Immortality Arrives In Just 2 Days…

Available at:

Nook:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forevers-too-long-helen-krummenacker/1131555250?ean=2940163217083

      Amazon: 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF

      AmazonUK:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RSGKTDF

      AmazonCA:
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07RSGKTDF

      AmazonAU:
https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07RSGKTDF

     Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/938589

Also there will be signed trade paperback copies available upon request. Simply leave a comment in the section below, or e-mail me at: 

helenkrummenacker@gmail.com

Countdown to release: These are a Few of my Favorite Things.

I mention in the acknowledgments that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. But the names I list might not be familiar to everyone.

Marlowe

Raymond Chandler was the creator of Phillip Marlowe. He didn’t create the hard-boiled detective genre, but he saw untapped potential in it. He started writing his own, bringing in a more sophisticated style of writing. He believed that people could enjoy exciting plot twists and still get literary touches.

Dan Curtis was a television producer, but not just a producer. He came up with and developed ideas for shows. His first foray into fiction was based on a dream that a friend told him sounded like gothic horror. He’d never heard of that genre before, plunged into it, and came out with a successful gothic soap opera that saved a television network. One of his followup projects, Kolchak, the Nightstalker, features a classically abrasive investigative reporter who keeps finding paranormal dangers at the heart of strange events in Chicago. It was brilliant and funny, and I was delighted to be compared to it.

Marv Wolfman might seem like the most obscure name I gave, but he’s been a tremendous influence on comic books and has wrtiten television shows. One of his specialties is re-imagining classic monsters into contemporary stories. He’s also remarkable for working out how to fix inconsistencies in an ongoing story line..

I’d also like to say Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books helped me see there is a market for this kind of old-fashioned character and cross-genre writing. Unlike the Dresden books, this is actually set back in the heyday of the private eye’s he emulates. And my detective, rather than starting out as an expert on the occult, begins blissfully unaware.

Less directly, I’m sure Terry Pratchett has been an influence, if only because he’s my favorite writer and I’ve read the Watch books over and over.

And… Star Wars. No, really. Watching The Force Awakens, I thought, “This guy doing Poe Dameron would be good as one of those smart-alec detectives.” And the idea of doing a Latino detective in period was intriguing. I’ll get into that in my next post.

Countdown to release: Film Noir?

Can a book be film noir? Well, given that “film” is in the genre title, I’d say not.

But, there are many film noir movies that are based on books.The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, for instance, came from novels by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler respectively. Thus, it may be useful to categorize a book style as film noir. There are many kinds of detective stories: police procedural, cozies, analytical, and forensic, to name a few approaches. Film noir gives you an idea of what to expect.

Some of the defining aspects of the film noir cinematic style are visual– tilted camera angles and dramatic lighting. That isn’t readily captured in a novel… but it helped me choose my author photo.

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One of the absolute requirements of film noir is sexual tension. I’ve kept that in mind while writing these. Many characters are attractive and there are complications in their interactions with each other that keep it interesting. First person narration means that, although the protagonist is himself a very attractive man, the descriptions focus more on the female characters.

Of course, film noir also dwells on the darker side of social behavior. Usually, it has to do with crime. Not all film noir stories are mysteries. Some are capers; some are escapes; some are thrillers. But at heart, there’s generally a legal line being crossed or contemplated. Rafael has plenty of that to deal with, mostly from others, although he has to skirt the line himself in a few ways.

Finally, while this is not genre defining (film noir movies have been made since), the bulk of film noir movies were made from 1944-1954 in AMerica. Forever’s Too Long is set in 1947, in New York City, so describing it as film noir (or just noir), helps imply the setting.

Film noir movies have an air of fatalism, pessimism and menace, though, and… The Forever Detective moves in and out of that. Rafael faces a heavy menace. There are hints that he’s following a fate he knows nothing about, but others do. More will be explored about that in the sequels. As for pessimism, Rafael is torn between hope and fear. However, action helps him keep his focus emotionally and his warm personality and sense of humor contrast with the noir aspects.

So…. noir light? A dance/action number in shades of grey? Read it and decide.