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I’ve heard certain stories and writers described as weird fiction and weird fiction writers. I’ve also heard of New Weird, which refers to writers whose work is representative of a new wave of weird fiction. And I can think of examples of fiction that is described as “weird fiction.” Yet, I still find myself wondering from time to time, “How do you define weird fiction?”

Most people I’ve talked to–and I’ve talked to many–say “I know it when I see it” when it comes to weird fiction.* However, being a non-human entity and having a very loose definition of “normal” in a world that seems to defy anyone’s definition of normal, that still isn’t enough for me. And I know HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos is considered weird fiction, but is that because it involves tentacled monsters?

As usually happens when these sort of questions bug me to no end, I do research. And after talking to a lot of people, reading some articles, and watching a few YouTube videos on the subject, I think I’ve finally come to some conclusions.

For one thing, “weird fiction” isn’t a specific genre like literary, romance, sci-fi or horror fiction. Rather, it’s a designation given to stories and writers who take traditional concepts within their genre and then find some way to turn them on their head and make them weird. Lovecraft and his friends’ fiction was called “weird horror” because it featured ancient cosmic beings with lots of tentacles instead of ghosts, werewolves and vampires. And today, you can call Junji Ito “new weird” because his work features women with their tongues being replaced by snails and their heads becoming the shells, or towns cursed by the concept of a spiral.

And this can apply to all sorts of other genres and kinds of stories. Magical realism, cryptozoological erotica, bizarro fiction, they can all be considered weird. And you can add weird to any sort of story. For example, perhaps you can write a romance story where the couple is actually a single person and their reflection. Or weird Western, where cowboys ride into a wilderness resembling that melting clock painting by Salvador Dali.

And now that I think about it, my own novel Rose could be considered weird fiction. I mean, I usually categorize it as “fantasy horror” or “paranormal fiction,” but it’s about a young woman turned into a plant/human hybrid (and that’s just the start of her problems). If that’s not weird, then I’m a sea lion (and I’m not).

Apparently, Rose could be considered “weird fiction.” I never realized.

So, how does one write weird fiction? Well, I don’t think anyone sets out to write exclusively weird stories. I think they’re just trying to create something original and that leads to going down a weird route. That being said, if you want to write something weird, here are a few things you can try to make it weird:

  • Disrupt the real. Weird fiction comes from being weird, so it helps if your story breaks either the characters’ or the readers’ sense of reality. In terms of the latter, you could modify the world in some way so that something weird by our standards is considered normal in the world of the story. One example I can think of is a story I once read where imaginary friends were real entities and an accepted part of the human life cycle, similar to losing your baby teeth or going through puberty.
    In terms of the former, write the story in a way where you and the characters share a similar reality, but then that definition of real goes out the window in a big way. Think Alice falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, or perhaps Little Red Riding Hood’s trip to her grandmother’s house becomes Lovecraftian and surreal.
  • Tentacles and cosmic elements. It’s a little stereotypical, but as I said, much of what made Lovecraft’s stories weird were the tentacles and the other elements that became the foundation of cosmic horror. So, if it works, why not use it?
  • Ask “what if I added this?” Plenty of times, we writers create our own stories by encountering another story and thinking of what we would add if we were the ones writing it. Just do the same thing, but think in terms of strange things you can add. And not just to other stories, but to just daily situations. What if you added surrealism to a religious matchmaking search, or if there was some visible way to instantly identify someone as having committed a crime? Thinking along those lines could allow you to write a weird fiction story.
  • Defy genre. While genres are categories we created, they do play a big role in writing and publishing. If you can write a story that doesn’t fit any particular genre but has elements of several, especially fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, it could be considered weird. There’s a bit more to it, but that can be a clear indicator of weird fiction.

Other than that, the only thing I can recommend is read plenty of weird stories and practice writing them. And while writing weird fiction isn’t exactly necessary for any writer, it can be a lot of fun and lead to some memorable stories. Hell, it may help you write more mainstream fiction. So, why not? Go ahead and get weird with it!

What tips do you have for writing weird fiction? Do you have any favorite stories that are considered weird?

*Fun fact: that phrase was coined by US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 in his opinion on the case Jacobellis v. Ohio regarding a definition for obscenity, specifically hard-core pornography. The more you know.

Thanks for reading, everyone. It was a long article, but I wanted to get it out before I tried to intentionally write a weird fiction story (usually it happens by accident). I hope you enjoyed a post without a mention of Hannah (which, now that I think about it, has a weird story or two as well).

Anyway, I’ll be back soon enough. There’s some exciting stuff happening this week, after all. So, until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares!

It’s alive! It’s ALIVE!

Specifically, the link to preorder Hannah and Other Stories is live now. As you know, Hannah and Other Stories is my new collection of short stories, and it’s releasing September 23rd, 2023. The collection contains stories of ghosts, budding serial killers, and carnivorous horses. And as of this morning, you can preorder it using the link below.

At the moment, you can only preorder it as an ebook. However, if preorders, sales and reviews are good, we may be able to expand into paperbacks and maybe even an audiobook! So please, if you’re at all interested, click on the link below and order a copy ahead of time! And in the meantime, I’ll do my best to make you want to read the book!


Speaking of doing my best, check this out: BSC Publishing Group, the publisher releasing Hannah, came up with all these marketing materials to help promote the book at events. You can see some photos of them below:

A chapbook containing excerpts from the stories “Hannah” and “Queen Alice.”
Pretty sweet bookmark.
Bookplates! You can paste them to the inside cover of your books, making them collectible (especially if I sign them).
Stickers and little photo cutouts of the cover!
A big poster with a description of the book! Now that’s something to catch the eye.

Pretty sweet, right? I never had this sort of support from a publisher before, so it’s a nice change of pace. And BSC does this for all their writers, so that’s pretty awesome for us. My favorites are the chapbooks and the poster. Not only are they well made, but I think they’ll especially draw the readers in. And now that the link is live, we can slap a QR code somewhere on that poster so people can preorder with their phones.

Anyway, I hope you didn’t mind me showing off the cool marketing materials and trying to entice you to preorder a copy of Hannah and Other Stories. Still, I hope you’ll check out the book and even consider preordering a copy. And if you do order a copy and read it, I hope you’ll review it after the release. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, and reviews help other readers as well.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m happy to report that while I’m not at one-hundred percent yet, I’m feeling much better than I have been. I might even do some writing this weekend. Maybe it’s all the self-care I’ve been doing lately. It makes such a big difference.

Anyway, until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

A representation of someone dealing with stress and burnout, courtesy of Wikipedia.

I’m exhausted.

At work, there has been a lot going on. A lot of ongoing projects that all require my immediate attention, a lot of things that need an answer five seconds before the question was asked. Just a lot going on, and much of it won’t be resolved until middle of summer, if at all.

At the same time, my personal life has been going through a low cycle. I’ve been dealing with a lot of shit, recently. I’m not going to go into detail, but it’s been a drain on my mind, body and soul. Enough that I’m honestly surprised I haven’t collapsed into the nearest chair or couch and refused to get up.

And I mentioned that all the frenetic editing I’ve been doing this past month has really drained me. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been thinking of not writing for a while. Maybe not until after Stokercon.

After the latest bullshit that’s cropped up in my life, I’m taking some time to focus on me. I’m still doing writing stuff (more on that below), but I’m also cutting out some writing stuff that’s going to cause me more stress and give me burnout. For example, instead of going down to Cincinnati for Hamilton Pride Festival this weekend (HWA Ohio has a table there this year), I’ll be staying home and just recuperating. Maybe going on a few errands so I can make some homemade dandelion wine, among other things. But mostly, I’ll just be relaxing at home.

In fact, since yesterday I’ve been devoting as much time as I can to just relaxing and recovering from everything that has been going on. And because of it, I’ve actually felt a return of my creative faculties. I’m actually itching to get back to writing again. Don’t know if I will, but it’s a good sign that I’m itching to write again.

And it’s important, whether you’re a writer or not, that you take care of yourself if you start to feel the symptoms of burnout (constant exhaustion, reluctance or lack of motivation for activities you normally enjoy, a feeling of helplessness and defeat, etc.). We all experience stress, but if we don’t take care of ourselves and let these feelings eat away at us, it can lead to further problems in the near future. This includes health problems and problems at work.

Do something different. Watch some movies you enjoy. Read some books. Take a weekend to sleep in. Treat yourself to a spa day, or go out with your friends to your favorite bar or restaurant. Do something that relaxes you and brings you joy. And if the source of your burnout is your job or something else about your life you feel you can’t get rid of, consider looking for a new job or seeing a therapist for other solutions. You’ll thank yourself for it and may even be able to enjoy life and hobbies again.

Hell, it’s working for me, and I’ve mostly been watching scary movies and making plans to spend time with friends and loved ones. Maybe I’ll be able to write before my birthday, let alone Stokercon!

And if you would like more information on burnout and avoiding/treating it, you can read this article from It’s helpful stuff.

What are your tips for avoiding burnout? Have you gone through anything similar?

One more thing: I’ll be on the Author’s Roundtable podcast with David Musser on Thursday evening, with the podcast becoming available on Friday. We’ll be talking with a whole bunch of other authors on tips and tricks to help aspiring authors get started on their careers. You can check out the podcast and the previous episodes here.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

Are you guys tired of hearing about Hannah and Other Stories yet? You’re not? Good, because this isn’t the last time I’ll be talking about it.

Anyway, as you probably know, Hannah and Other Stories is my upcoming collection of short stories. Within the book will be tales of ghosts, budding serial killers, and carnivorous horses, among other things. And as of now, we have a specific release date, rather than just the vague “Fall 2023.”

So, are you reading to find out the date of release? Are you ready? Well, let me tell you. The release date is…

You know what, I think I’ll just keep it under wraps for a little while longer.

Kidding! Just kidding! No need to panic or sound off in the comments.

In all seriousness, here we go: the release date of Hannah and Other Stories will be Saturday, September 23rd, 2023!

So, there you have it. The release date will be September 23rd, right before the Halloween season really ramps up. Hopefully it makes one hell of an impression on readers.

Now, you’re probably wondering where and when it’ll be available for preorder. I’ll have the links for preorders as soon as they’re available, and then I’ll make sure to pass them on to you. Should you wish to preorder, you can do so then.

I’m really hoping Hannah does well, and maybe even gets plenty of preorders. For now, the book will only be available as an ebook, but if it does well, it’ll be released as a paperback and even as an audiobook! I would love for that to happen. It would not only mean that more people could read the book in their preferred format, it would mean people really liked Hannah and want to support it.

And speaking of support, thank you all for your support with this book, as well as your patience. I know it’s been a year and a half since Hannah was first accepted for publication, but I swear that it is on its way and all the waiting and clamoring and excitement will be worth it.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be at the Canal Town Book Festival tomorrow. Please come out if you’re in the Dover, Ohio area. And if you’re not, you can show your support by heading to my Books page and getting one of the books listed there from the retailer of your choice. It’ll make great reading until Hannah releases.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

So, one thing that really surprised me about the editing process for Hannah was that I had to get rid of brand names from the stories. YouTube became WeTube, and Kroger and Meijer became Lundgren’s, etc.

But those weren’t the only things I had to take out. Ohio State University, which was featured in What Errour Awoke and which was mentioned in Hannah, has been renamed Aurelian University. And Disneyland is now Mueller Land. Yeah, Disneyland was in a story at one point, but now it’s Mueller Land. And I was really surprised I had to change those both.

As my publisher explained, we have to be careful, because if we use a real brand and the company that owns the brand thinks the depiction is negative, they can sue both me and the publisher. Which makes sense. I mean, Apple doesn’t allow its products to be used by bad guys in movies and TV shows. If you see someone in a movie using a generic android phone, chances are they’re bad guys. And in the TV show Chuck, the name of the store where the main character works is a Best Buy parody called Buy More. And given that the store is regularly depicted as being staffed by lazy, incompetent, and oftentimes creepy employees, or is the sight of shootouts and spy shenanigans, it makes sense that the creators would change the name.

Also explains why Subway, which was a sponsor for the show in later seasons, was only ever eaten by the good guys. As far as I can remember, I never once saw a bad guy in that show going for Subway.

Still, that show also depicted Stanford University as a major recruiting center for CIA operatives, and during the first season, the main character has negative feelings towards the school due to his being framed for cheating and getting kicked out while there. Did Stanford not care? And if it didn’t, would Ohio State really care that some characters in my collection were students there?

On the bright side, I was able to keep Slender Man in Queen Alice. Even though he’s a copyrighted character (I know, most people think he’s public domain as well), I was able to keep him as mentioned in Queen Alice because he illustrates an ongoing phenomena regarding Internet boogeymen. And in What Errour Awoke, I was able to keep a reference to Die Hard because, as my editor put it, Nakatomi Plaza is not a copyrighted name or actual location and everyone loves a Die Hard reference (truth).

I still find myself wondering about this, though. Some authors, especially big-name authors, can put references to brands, businesses and universities, among other things, into their work and don’t think twice about changing them. Occasionally, you even see song lyrics from famous songs! Gerald’s Game‘s antagonist draws his name from lyrics from “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band, and My Best Friend’s Exorcism had lyrics to many popular songs from the 1980s, albeit sung with the wrong lyrics because that’s what the characters liked to do. Not sure if that counts as parody or fair use, but it doesn’t change the fact that We Got the Beat by the Go-Gos was used as an exorcism chant later in the book.

And how does Law & Order: SVU get away with using TikTok and TikTok stars in one episode? Yeah, season 23, episode 5. Even if the app isn’t portrayed as having any bearing on the bad guys in that episode, I can’t imagine TikTok was happy to have its name used in the show like that.

I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a lot to using real brands in fictional contexts that I don’t get. It’s incredibly nuanced, and you can’t get away with using a real brand by using it in a positive light and then pointing to the copyright text at the beginning of the book stating that all characters, settings, and whatever are fictional or used fictionally. In which case, more often than not, it might be better to just turn a popular brand or institution into a fictional version with a name that may or may not reference the real thing. YouTube becomes WeTube, Disneyland becomes Mueller Land, Ohio State University becomes Aurelian University, and…well, you get the idea.

Do you have any insight on this, my Followers of Fear? Please sound off in the comments below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Just a reminder, though: this Saturday I’ll be at the Canal Town Book Festival in Dover, Ohio, selling books. If any of you are in the area, please stop by and visit. Also keep an eye out for some exciting news on the horizon regarding Hannah and Other Stories. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

So, these past few weeks, I’ve been editing the hell out of the stories in my upcoming collection, Hannah and Other Stories. This collection contains stories featuring ghosts, budding collections, and even carnivorous horses, and it looks like we’ll be releasing it some time this fall.

And as of early this morning, I’ve finished editing the third draft of the manuscript.

I’m not going to lie, this has been the most exhausting editing process I’ve ever gone through. Way more than Rose ever was (and I had to rewrite two-thirds of that novel at one point). Some of the stories, such as What Errour Awoke and Fuseli’s Horses, required extensive editing and rewrites. Autopsy Kid, which at this time is the last story in the collection, had a ton of content cut from the story and a lot of changes made so that it could stay part of the collection. As a result, I actually missed the deadline to get this story turned in!

Yeah, I’m not happy about that. It was due on Friday night at 11:59 PM, but even though I adjusted my schedule to maximize editing time despite being at ParaPsyCon, I still couldn’t finish it by then. I actually had to grab some shut-eye, then wake up at 5:30 in the morning and finish the edits!

Still, I’m not happy that I was late. Yeah, there were factors that contributed to the lateness, such as having a day job and needing to sleep. But it was still a failure on my part, if a minor one. I’m glad I wasn’t like one of those writers in the movies and books, who are one to six months past deadline. Or that one writer whose next book is…nine years overdue?! Good Lord, we are never going to get that series finished, are we?

Anyway, now that the third draft and all the major edits and rewrites are done, all that’s left is for the fourth draft. This draft will mainly be editing the stories to be grammatically correct. Any new content will likely just to make an unwieldy sentence read better, or to flesh out something that’s more telling than showing. And after that, provided there’s nothing more to do, we can move forward with getting this book released in the fall.

I’ve actually already done three stories in the fourth draft, and it only took me an hour to get through them, rather than the hours or days for each story in the third draft. Hopefully the next four stories go the same way.

That being said, right now, I’m exhausted. Work has been crazy, so balancing work and the writer life, as well as my personal life and getting sleep, has been insane. And I didn’t get enough last sleep last night. So, although I want to party with wine, cake, and some horror movies or anime, I’m just going to get into bed. Tomorrow, on the way back from ParaPsyCon, I’ll try to pick up some of the good stuff and have a good time when I get home.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m hoping to be blogging a bit more now that the third draft is done. Until then, good night and pleasant nightmares. I know I plan to have a few.

The Anchorage Mansion. Majestic but spooky, isn’t it?

As you know, I was in Marietta the other day for the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. And while I was there, I signed up for a flashlight tour and short ghost hunt of the Anchorage Mansion, the headquarters of the Hidden Marietta Tour Group, who are also responsible for the expo. And, being me, not only did I bring my dowsing rods, but I filmed some creepy stuff and put it on YouTube!

So, if you don’t know, the Anchorage Mansion is a large, Victorian mansion set on a hill looking over the lovely city of Marietta. It was built in the 1800s and was home to about four different families before becoming a church run rest home. After the rest home was closed, it laid abandoned until the local historical society, and then Hidden Marietta, took over it and started fixing it up. Today, the house’s first floor has been refurbished and the second floor, the servants’ quarters (which is kind of like a floor 1.5), and the attic and its tower will hopefully be fixed up in the coming years.

And Hidden Marietta offers tours and ghost hunts, both public and private, to the residence, because the place has a number of ghosts. Some ghosts include the original owners, a pair of little girls named Henrietta and Clarabelle (nobody’s entirely sure who they are, though there are theories), and former residents of the rest home, the most famous of whom is a prankster by the name of Walter.

I was there for the flashlight tour with a half-hour ghost hunt added afterwards, and my friend/fellow vendor Jeff Ignatowski was there as well (he’s the inventor of Killers; The Card Game, which I recommend you check out). With a group of about a dozen people, we toured the house and learned its history and about its hauntings, of which there were numerous stories. And while I enjoyed supplying my knowledge of Victorian house-planning and customs when appropriate (I knew researching The Pure World Comes would come in handy someday), I was overwhelmed by how active the house was.

Kid you not, early on in the tour, we started experiencing activity. While we were in a side room off the dining room, I saw a blue light flashing back and forth in the dining room. I asked about it, thinking it was one of the tour guides with her phone, but she said it wasn’t her or her phone. Followers of Fear, it was a blue orb! I’d never seen one so clear and close with my own eyes before.

And throughout the night, I would see more and more orbs and light anomalies. In fact, I was able to get some on film in the attic tower.

Crazy, right? Some of those anomalies just flew up into the roof and disappeared. My dad even saw the video and said he saw five. And he’s a bit of a skeptic to this sort of thing (or maybe he’s just a skeptic when it comes to ghost hunting shows).

Anyway, after that the tour ended and we received some equipment to go throughout the house and investigate. I went with my friend Jeff to the attic, where we heard those two little girls Henrietta and Clarabelle are known to hang out. And the results were beyond anything I expected.

Divebombing bat aside, it was quite the moment for me. Clarabelle made the stairs creak, which was something I’d only seen in movies and ghost-hunting shows. To experience it myself was like a dream come true.

After that, Jeff and I went downstairs. We wanted to go into the servants’ quarters, where a very violent ghost hangs out (no joke, they do not allow women to go in there alone). But another group was in there, so we decided to head down to the dining room and try to get in contact with Walter. First, I tried using the GhostTube app on my phone.

Then I used my regular camera, which ended up producing a kind of odd angle to parts of the video.

As you can tell from the end of the above video, the ghost hunt came to an end at that point. And while I had fun and felt satisfied, I wish I could have stayed longer. After all, the Anchorage Mansion is the real deal. I bet skeptics will have a few thoughts if they visit this mansion at night, that’s how crazy active it is.

So, if the opportunity arises, I definitely will visit the mansion again, and maybe do a full ghost hunt. I would love to get plenty of footage and experience more paranormal activity. And, of course, if possible, I would love to go with some friends.

In the meantime, I’ll be at ParaPsyCon this coming weekend at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. As you well know, the Reformatory is one of the most haunted places in the United States, as well as one of my favorite in the world. I’ll be selling books and doing Tarot readings there the entire weekend, so if you’re in the area, please stop by! And if something supernatural happens to me there (and it probably will, given my track record), I will try to get it on video.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and make sure to check out my YouTube channel for more spooky videos and updates on my work. Mostly spooky videos, but also updates on my work.

Speaking of Victorian mansions with freaky things going on inside, my Gothic horror novel, The Pure World Comes, will be on sale through Wednesday in honor of its one-year release anniversary. Set in 1894, the story follows Shirley Dobbins, a maid who goes to work for the eccentric baronet Sir Joseph Hunting. While at his estate, the Hunting Lodge, strange occurrences happen at the mansion, and Shirley soon learns that not only do these occurrences may have something to do with the baronet, but they may threaten her and those she holds dear.

The ebook is currently on sale from all retailers, and the audio book is on sale from Chirp, Spotify, Nook Audiobooks, and Apple. If this piques your interest, I’ll leave links below. And if you like what you read, leave a review online somewhere so I know what you think. Happy reading and pleasant nightmares!

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel, Palace Marketplace, Hoopla, Vivlio, Smashwords, Thalia, Scribd, Spotify

One year ago, I published my love letter to the Victorian era and to Gothic literature, The Pure World Comes, in paperback and ebook. The story followed Shirley Dobbins, a maid in 19th-century England who only wants to become a head maid of a great household. So, after the death of her employers, she think she’s hit the jackpot when she’s invited to work for the estate of the baronet Sir Joseph Hunting. However, she soon finds out the manor is not only in need of more than a little TLC, but strange things are occurring there. Things that may be related to the baronet’s research into fringe sciences. And these strange things are turning increasingly dangerous.

Anyway, I can’t believe it’s only been a year since this book came out! So much has happened in that time. But a year has passed, and I’ve been lucky enough that many people are not only reading the book, but loving the hell out of it. As I said, this story is a love letter to the Victorian era and to Gothic literature, and I think I spent five years just doing research before I actually wrote it. I wanted to not only be able to breathe the era, but to have my readers breathe it too. And I think I succeeded on that front. I certainly succeeded in making a toilet scary.

Yes, I made a toilet scary. There’s a scene where a character uses the bathroom and something terrifying happens when she’s done. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book.

But as I said, a lot of people have discovered and enjoyed the book, and I’ve been lucky enough to get their feedback. Here’s what people are saying:

I love it when I’m pleasantly surprised by a book. Rami Ungar is not a debut author, (according to the back of the book, this is his fourth novel), but his work is new to me and so I went in not knowing what to expect. What I got was a short novel so perfectly Victorian and utterly Gothic that it made my old-fashioned self giddy as a schoolgirl…Mixing classic-romantic Victorian elements with early science-fiction, tales of Jack the Ripper/Spring-Heeled Jack, and a bit of the occult, this book gives the reader a truly chilling and also slightly fun little Gothic adventure

Heather Miller, author of “Tales My Grandmother Told Me.”

Wow Literally Breathe Taking.

This Novella/ Short Story Packed a Powerful Punch. A Gothic Victorian Tale of Heart Retching HeartAche and Disparity to a Glorious Triumph. A Depiction of England around the Same time of White Chapel/and Jack the Ripper. This writers style and depth of description brings the reader right into the story as the events unfold. The Banter between the Characters is so natural. It will surely Become a Classic in its own Right.

This has elements of Dark Shadows Lara Parker (Angelique) books, as well as Thomas Megan and so many Victorian writers including Shirley Jackson

Joan Smith, Goodreads reviewer

There were quite a few things I liked about this book – the attempt to make it historically accurate (required a lot of research), the author’s take on a possible Jack the Ripper scenario (no spoilers!), And the Big Reveal itself. I quite like the idea. I think it has many possibilities and potential uses as a plot device for future (possibly non related) stories. I also listened to Rami’s other novel Rose, and this one is completely different. A little darker, a little more philosophical. Exceptional work.

Ronald Gillepsie, Amazon reviewer

And that’s just a small sampling of what people have been saying. You can read the rest by clicking on the Amazon and Goodreads links below.

And that brings me to some exciting news: in honor of the one-year anniversary, I’m having a sale! From now until May 17th, the ebook will be on sale from all retailers! And the audio book (yeah, there’s an audio book) will be on sale from Chirp, Spotify, Nook Audiobooks and Apple as well during this period. So, if you’re interested in reading the book but might be a little cash-strapped, now is a great time to get a copy and start reading! Links are posted below.

And if you like what you read, please post a review online. Not only will it let me know what you thought and maybe improve my writing, but it’ll let other readers know whether or not to get the book.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you all enjoy reading the book, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

The Pure World Comes: Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel, Palace Marketplace, Hoopla, Vivlio, Smashwords, Thalia, Scribd, Spotify

Life is crazy, there’s a lot going on, so here’s some quick updates on what’s going on in my life and writing career.

Hannah and Other Stories

So, the next draft has already begun on Hannah. Currently, my editor is sending it to me story by story every couple of days, with “Hannah” itself arriving yesterday. (And yes, differentiating the two in email conversations with my editor was a hoot). I actually got the story done in one evening and sent it back, with the biggest change to the story just being that I changed some names of brands and public institutions. For example, YouTube became WeTube, Ohio State University became Aurelian University, and Disneyland in Anaheim because Mueller Land in San Dimas. Fun fact, took me about half an hour to rename Disneyland, but given that they’re a brand I don’t want to owe money to for using in a story, it was a half hour well spent.

I should receive the next story, “Queen Alice,” in a few days at most. When I get it, I’ll get it edited as quickly as possible and get it back to the publisher. With any luck, we’ll be done with this draft by the end of the month.

They Sleep Within the Rock and other projects

I finally got around to doing a third draft of this novella last week. With my beta reader’s help, I’ve been able to improve the story immensely, and have edited about seventy percent of the story. Unfortunately, while working on it, I realized the last thirty percent doesn’t have the oomph this story needs to be great. I mean, it’s a story about giving neo-Nazis some epic karma! You would think the story would have an ending on par with the explosiveness of Die Hard or the finale of The Little Mermaid (say what you will about that movie, but that finale is nothing to sneeze at).

So after a lot of messaging back and forth with my beta reader, I think I came up with a new ending that might be closer to my vision. I’ll be working on it in-between stories of Hannah, so it may take time, but I’ll get it done and back to the beta reader before too long.

After that, I would like to edit “The Underground Kings” and “It Changes You: A Backrooms Story,” as I’ve received some great feedback on how to improve those stories and I want to see what I can do with them. With any luck, they may even find homes!

And as for new stuff…well, I would like to get back to my mummy novel Crawler. And I do have some short stories, novelettes and novellas I might want to work on later this year. But really, nothing definite at this point. Just a ton of editing.

Horror Writers Association news

You may not be aware of this, but I’ve been the Chairperson for the Ohio chapter of the Horror Writers Association, HWA Ohio, since around its inception. I didn’t volunteer for the role or anything in the beginning, I just kept reserving meeting rooms for our meetings, and as we got more organized, I just kind of became the chair.

This year, the HWA implemented a system to elect chairs every two years organization wide. And I can officially say that I’ve been elected to serve the role two more years. I’m looking forward to serving as the Chairperson again, and to growing both the chapter and its members. If anything exciting pops up in that regard, I will let you know.

Anything else?

As you know, this Saturday I will be selling books and doing Tarot readings at the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo in Marietta, Ohio. It’ll be at the Washington County Fairgrounds from 10 AM – 4 PM. If you’re in the area this Saturday, please stop by, because it’s going to be a ton of fun.

I’m also going to be doing a flashlight tour and a ghost hunt at the local Anchorage Mansion this weekend with a friend, so hopefully we come across some spooky stuff. If we do, and I can, I’ll record it so you can see it!

And I finished Every Woman Knows This by Laurel Hightower, and thought it was a strong collection of scary short stories. 4 out of 5, won’t disappoint readers who give it a read.

Other than that, there’s nothing I can talk about. At least nothing that’s relevant to this blog right now or that I can talk about without getting into trouble. So, I’ll take this moment to bid you all a good night. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

I normally don’t talk about this sort of thing on my blog. You know, because it’s kind of devoted to my writing career and to horror. But honestly, after today, I gotta say something to more than just my family. So strap in, kids. I’m doing a public service announcement veering into rant territory.

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of ballet. I’ve even included it in a few of my stories. And I was very excited to go see my local company perform Swan Lake. It’s their last production of the season, it’s probably the most famous ballet in the world alongside Nutcracker, and it’s a lot of fun to guess what variation of the story the performers will do (there are many depending on the vision of the company). And it was, to my delight, a great show. Except for one little issue…some of the patrons had brought their babies and infants with them to the show.

If I could insert an actual sigh here, I would.

Look, I get it. We all need a little escape from our lives. And except for maybe Nutcracker, most companies will wait several years before performing the same show again, which means you probably only have the opportunity to see this production once. And nobody likes missing out on what they love. And for Nutcracker, I kind of expect small children at that one. It’s a family show with lots of exciting stuff happening onstage to keep their attention.

But seriously, why are you bringing a child that young to a show other than Nutcracker? At five or so, kids start to gain the ability to sit still for movies and shows and be quiet. But younger children, especially babies, aren’t able to do that. Many of them can’t even comprehend what’s going on around them.

Imagine, being in a room where it’s dark, there’s loud music constantly playing, and then there are bursts of house-shaking applause during the show. Any small child will be terrified and cry out!

In fact, many of them were. I counted at least four tots who cried at various times during the show. If not because they were scared, then because they were tired, or fussy, or they’re babies! That’s what they do. As well as gurgle, babble, and make any number of noises. All of which happened during the show and distracted the audience. Several times, the parents had to take their child out of the theater and into the foyer because it wouldn’t calm down or go to sleep.

Feels like a waste of a ticket, if you have to leave the show every twenty minutes because of your kid.

And that brings me to my next point. These tickets cost anywhere between seventy and four hundred dollars (excluding processing fees and whatnot). So you’re putting down several hundred dollars for tickets for these shows, including one for the baby, when your child isn’t able to understand or appreciate the show, and definitely won’t sleep through the whole thing. You might as well spend the money on a babysitter instead. From what I’m told, they’re much more affordable, and you wouldn’t be inconveniencing all the other guests who paid a lot of money to see this show as well.

And if you’re not ready to be separated from your kid, don’t go! You’ll save money, and you won’t have the inconvenience of leaving the show several times, climbing over people in seats that are as packed in as airplane seats.

And while I’m on the subject, this should go for movie theaters as well. Yes, movies are a lot more affordable than plays and ballets, but the concept still applies. Hell, it might even apply more! A lot of films these days include explosions, screaming, guns firing, and so many things that might frighten a small kid in a dark room.

I’ve had to deal with this at more movies than I dare to count. When I saw IT: Chapter Two, some woman in the front row brought her baby. During the first twenty minutes, the kid kept screaming and the people around her kept telling her to leave because it’s IT: Chapter Two! That movie is going to be loud and scary! And when I saw Logan a few years before, a kid was crying on the stairs in the theater because that’s a gory, violent film and he was scared! Took a good twenty minutes for the parents to get up and take the kid outside. I guess they thought he would just stop and take a nap?

Now, I know I’m not a parent. I don’t know how tough it is (though my parents did raise me and three younger sisters, so sometimes I feel like I kind of get it). But I know that young kids, unlike teens and adults, don’t know better about how to act during a movie. They just react. And if your kid isn’t ready for movies and you can’t get a babysitter…well, parenthood is about sacrifice. That’s what I’ve learned from every great parent I’ve ever come across. And sometimes, that sacrifice means waiting a few months for the movie to be available on streaming and Blu-Ray.

Luckily, there’s been some movement to prevent this sort of problem. A lot of movie theaters don’t allow young kids to see R-rated films at all, and won’t let them see PG-13 movies after a certain time. Many of these same theaters also have showings exclusively for families: the lights aren’t out all the way, talking and crying isn’t a big deal, and the film is something the kids can get into. And the majority of Broadway theaters and traveling shows require children be at least five years old, or they won’t let them into the theater. And many ballets can even be streamed these days, believe it or not! Some are even streamed live!

And yes, I might write to the company that runs the theaters to see if anything can be done. I mean, if they enforce Broadway policies for the touring Broadway shows, they might be willing to extend that to other events.

But really, parents of young children need to help out too. As I said above, these small kids can’t help being noisy. They’re not electronic devices you can just switch off. They’re going to react instinctually, and that will disturb audiences. But parents, you can make a choice. You can choose to waste money on something that your baby will disturb for you and everyone else. Or you can keep the kid home, and save everyone, including your kid, from having their night ruined.

And hey, you might still be able to see your show or movie. Like I said, babysitters are a lot more affordable than you might think.

Thanks for reading, folks. This has been something I’ve actually been wanting to write about for ages now, but after the show today, it just kind of came to a head and I had to make my feelings public. And if this changes even a few people’s minds, it’ll be worth it.