Archive for the ‘Living and Life’ Category

Last night, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in a while and record myself reading aloud from one of my stories. Why? Because I have two stories coming out one after the other, so I thought it would be a good way to drum up interest in them. However, because longer (and effect-laden) videos take longer to upload to YouTube, this is the first chance I’ve had to post about it.

So, without further ado, here’s me reading from “Cressida,” which is in Into the Deep, and “Blood and Paper Skin,” which will be The Dark Sire starting with Issue 8 on July 31st.

How about that, huh? I still can’t figure out how to have multiple texts throughout the video, but I managed to add music and other effects throughout. Did what showed up at the end surprise anyone?

And if you weren’t able to watch the full video, here’s a quick rundown of all the pieces of news I mentioned after the reading from “Blood and Paper Skin:”

  • Into the Deep is available now for download. Last I checked, the ebook is still the only version available. If the paperback version isn’t available by Tuesday, I’ll email the publisher and see what’s up. In the meantime, you can check out the ebook of Into the Deep now with this link. If you decide to read it, please let the publisher and me know what you thought (especially of my story “Cressida”).
  • “Blood and Paper Skin” will be released in The Dark Sire, Issues 8-10. I’m very excited about this. The first issue, Issue 8, will be released on Saturday, July 31st. I really hope you’ll check out the magazine when the story comes out and will let people know what you think. I’ll post a link when the time comes.
  • As previously stated, an essay I wrote will be in House of Stitched Magazine next month. This is an essay on a trope I’ve noticed in horror, the broken child, and I’m very excited for the issue to feature my essay. Especially considering the great authors whose stories are in the issue as well. I’ll be sure to post a link when the time comes, so keep an eyes out!
  • My short story “The Divorce from God” will be in The Jewish Book of Horror this holiday season. I’m very excited to be contributing to Jewish literature this way! And obviously, I hope you’ll pick the book up once it’s available later this year. After all, Jewish-influenced horror is pretty rare. Especially when so many writers have been influenced by Christianity, let alone horror writers. I’d love to see what you think.
  • The Pure World Comes is getting published!!! I know you’re very much aware of this, but it bears repeating. My novel The Pure World Comes will be released through the Readict novel app hopefully in the near future. I don’t have an exact date, but I’ve been communicating with Readict’s staff this whole week, so we’re chugging along. Hopefully things continue to go well and I can update you in the near future.
  • I’ll be at Bibliophile Books in Dover, OH, on July 31st for an author event! Turns out, the editor of The Dark Sire is from Ohio, as are several of the authors in Issue 8. And in order to draw up some more interest, they’re hosting an author event at the bookstore. Authors who can make it will read short excerpts from their work, answer questions, and sign copies of Issue 8, as well as their own books. I’m looking forward to heading out there and maybe meeting some new readers. Not to mention meeting some of my fellow writers! Be there from 11 AM – 1 PM if you can!
  • I’m still going to Indie Author Book Expo Aurora this September. Remember, this will be held in Aurora, Illinois on September 11 at the Prisco Community Center from 10 AM – 3 PM. There will be all sorts of awesome authors to check out, as well as great books. I hope you’ll be able to come if you can. You can find out more here.

In addition, I inserted another reminder that I’ll be celebrating my ten-year blogging anniversary next month and will be hosting an Ask Me Anything, or AMA, in honor of the occasion. If you would like to participate, you can submit questions to my email address, ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com, until 11:59 PM on July 28th. One lucky participant will even win a prize! I look forward to reading and answering your questions.

Anyway, that’s the content of the video. I hope you enjoyed it if you watched it, and I hope the updates were helpful.

I’ll be back later tonight with a review, so I hope you check that out when it’s released. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares!

I made a nice graphic for “The Pure World Comes.” It’ll work till I get a proper cover for the story.

If you read the poem in my last post, you probably noticed a key phrase in the last stanza. How did it go again? Oh yes. Now I remember.

Behold! THE PURE WORLD COMES!

That wasn’t just some incomprehensible poetry mumbo-jumbo (though I wouldn’t blame you if you thought it was). No, this poem has been a prelude for something big.

As many of you are aware, last year as we were all in lockdown, I wrote a novel set in Victorian England. The novel followed a young maid who went to work in the home of a mad scientist. I then did another draft, sent the novel to a couple of beta readers, and then made a third draft based on their feedback. Then I started shopping the book around, seeing if I could get anyone interested.

I’m happy to say that one company did show interest. And after some back and forth of the terms, we came to an agreement, culminating today with my signing the contract. So with that said, I can now say, my novel The Pure World Comes will be published!

Specifically, the novel will be published by VitaleTek, a company that releases stories through its app Readict. Which, honestly, is kind of Victorian: novels were released through periodicals like newspapers or magazines before being collected in hardcover and paperback (I think the latter, like now, is for more commercial books). And apps like Readict can be the newspapers and magazines of today.*

Anyway, I’m super excited to have this novel come out. The Pure World Comes is a love letter to all I love about the Victorian era (and probably won’t be the last). That several people, from my beta readers to the folks at VitaleTek, thought so highly of my story and that it’s been accepted for publication only a year after being written (Rose took five) is a huge deal for me.

As of right now, we don’t have a release date. However, I can tell you that the latest draft of the novel has been sent to the company and I’m sure their editing department will be in touch soon so we can polish this novel up. I cannot wait to share this book, its protagonist Shirley Dobbins, and the strange going-ons at the Hunting House mansion, very soon.

Thanks to Ms. Keheaku and the team at VitaleTek for taking on this project; Patrick Freivald for introducing me to the company; to Ruth Ann Nordin, Tim Purvis, and Angela Misri for beta reading the book; and many more people who helped me get to this point. It could not have been done without you.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have posts and videos to make on my other social media platforms, pizza and ice cream to eat, mead to drink, anime and movies to watch, monsters to summon, and so much more. Until next time, pleasant nightmares and God Bless Queen Victoria!

*As for whether The Pure World Comes will get a print edition, you’ll just have to wait and see.


Oh, one more thing, my Followers of Fear: there’s just over two weeks left to submit questions to the Ask Me Anything, or AMA, to celebrate my ten-year blogging anniversary. Send your question in an email to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021 and you’ll get entered for a prize. I look forward to reading your questions!

Also, if you’re looking for something to read until The Pure World Comes releases, you can check out any of my previous work below. People are still discovering my stories all the time, and apparently they’re enjoying them too (thank you for the review on Agoraphobia, Jennifer Patino). Who knows? You may find something that will give you one or two…pleasant nightmares.

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Across the plains of the imagination,
What terrifying creature
With head and neck of snake and body of a thousand arms and eyes
Slithers forward to the realms of reality,
Waiting to be spread?

Anticipation builds.
Come forth, child, pathogen of the mind.
You are wanted and desired.
Naglaeria fowleri, this imposter, envies how you burrow
Into the heads of all who come upon you.

The signature has been put down
Through an app the meme-like transmission and infection will begin.
Let us pray to the dark gods and give our thanks with blood and wine.
The denizens of the Underworld shiver and tremble. For
Behold! THE PURE WORLD COMES!

The Ancient Ram Inn, one of the most haunted locations in England. As you can guess, I want to go.

As many of you know, I love going to haunted locations, and I keep a list on this blog of some of the ones I want to visit a bit more. And the longer I live, the more places I find that I want to visit. Both in this life, and the next. Here is my latest list of haunted locations to visit.

And for some of my readers, it’s a list of places to avoid like the plague.

Houska Castle, Czech Republic
Our first entry is rather infamous, though not as well known as other places in Europe. Houska Castle was built in the 1400s, with the chapel built over a deep, possibly bottomless pit. Some people believe that the pit is a gateway to Hell and that the chapel keeps the demons in the pit. Even if the pit is sealed, however, there are plenty of stories of ghosts and dark entities haunting the castle. Coupled with the strange architecture of the place and the gruesome murals in the chapels, it’s a creepy building even without the legends.
Ever since I heard of this place, I’ve wanted to visit it. I’ve already used it in a short story (admittedly a terrible one) and I could see myself using it in another story someday. Imagine what sort of story I could write if I actually visited the castle!

El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico
This historic hotel in New Mexico is a beautiful building, filled to the brim with Indian art and photos of celebrities who used to stay there. In fact, at one point this hotel was the go-to place for film crews making Westerns.
There’s also been a spike in supernatural activity in the hotel, possibly due to an alleged ritual performed there. Some have quit because of the activity, and at least one ghost hunting crew has investigated there (which is how I heard of it). If I ever go to New Mexico, I want to stay there and see if I get anything strange or creepy to happen.

Terrace Inn, Petoskey, Michigan
At the upper edge of the lower half of Michigan, the Terrace Inn and its attached 1911 restaurant is one of only a few historic hotels in Petoskey. It’s also said that there are spirits haunting the inn, and it’s been featured on the news and one or two paranormal investigations shows. “
Given that my relatives in Michigan are always asking me to come visit and I have a novel that I’d need to visit Michigan to research, I think this could be added to the itinerary.

Vulture City and Mines, Vulture City, Arizona
Mining towns from the 1800s are notorious for becoming haunted, usually for a history of violence, greed and death. The Vulture City and the nearby mines are no exception, but some believe active mining in the area have let loose some much more evil and powerful entities. Even if it hasn’t, it has already acquired a reputation for being haunted, as attested to by many paranormal investigators.
Sounds like a good excuse to go to Arizona if you ask me.

Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, England
Originally built in 1145, this inn outside of Gloucestershire is said to be one of England’s most haunted locations. Many different spirits are said to haunt the place: a Roman centurion on horseback, religious clerics and monks, a witch who was burned at the stake, etc. The inn is open to paranormal tourists, and many do stay overnight.
Since I plan to go back to England some time in the next couple years, I hope I can make a reservation and stay overnight.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
The imposing body of Edinburgh Castle has been part of Scottish history for centuries. Not only as a royal residence, but as a symbol of Scottish independence and as a major symbol of the city of Edinburgh. It’s also said that various spirits haunt the castle, as one could expect. Prisoners in the dungeons, floating mists and orbs, you name it, they’re there. And I would like to find some of them. If I can.

Edinburgh Vaults, Edinburgh, Scotland
Also in Edinburgh, the vaults are chambers underneath the arches of South Bridge. They’ve been used as workshops and storage areas for craftsmen and merchants, as well as taverns, illegal gambling dens, refuges for the homeless and hives for criminal activity. These days the vaults are closed to the public and strictly controlled, and I’m not surprised. Besides being an area of archeological importance, as well as possibly in need of preservation due to years of wear and tear, spirits are said to haunt the vaults. In fact, plenty of paranormal investigators have been down there and possibly detected supernatural or paranormal activity.
Honestly, I would love the stay the night here with a few friends. We can grab a nap, then see if we can grab some proof of spirits. Anyone want to join me?

The Berkeley Ferry, San Diego, California
This historical steam ferry is an actual floating museum in San Diego. You can go on, tour the boat, and then have it go out onto the water. However, there are supposedly a bunch of spirits who call the ferry home, and some of them are not too friendly. Even crazier, some report that the ferry’s spirits have gotten more active and even more aggressive since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Which just means I have more of a chance to see something happening, right?

Haunted 1889 McInteer Villa, Atchinson, Kansas
I actually met the owners of this villa at ParaPsyCon two months ago, and was intrigued enough to look them up when I got home. This Victorian manor has been a private home, a rooming house, and now is a paranormal hotspot. At least nine people have died naturally in the house, and there was one suicide. And that’s the ones they know about.
These deaths are possibly the cause of lights flickering or turning on and off, mysterious footsteps, feeling watched, and more. There have even been shadow figures spotted!
If I ever make it to Kansas, I think I’ll make a visit. While making as many Wizard of Oz references as possible, of course.

So, those are the latest haunted locations I’ve added to my list to visit. If you want to see the other lists, which include some of the ones I’ve visited, I’ll include links below. And in the meantime, let me ask you: have you visited any of these places? What was your experience like? Anything you couldn’t explain? Would you consider visiting them in the future? Let’s discuss.

Ten Haunted Locations, Part 5
Ten Haunted Locations, Part 4
Ten Haunted Locations, Part 3
Ten Haunted Locations, Part 2
Ten Haunted Locations, Part 1


As you are no doubt aware, Followers of Fear, my ten-year blogging anniversary is next month. And to celebrate, I’m having an Ask Me Anything, or AMA, to celebrate. And one lucky participant will win a special prize! If you want to participate and be eligible for a prize, just send me an email with your location and your question to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com. If you get your question in by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021, your question will be answered and you’ll be eligible to win the prize.

I look forward to reading your questions. In the meantime, I’m going to be working on my latest story. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

Also, who or what is that standing behind you? It’s about to grab your shoulder! Run!

Damn, that title’s a mouthful!

Still, it’s the truth. In one month, on August 2nd, 2021, I will mark the ten-year anniversary of when I started this blog. And in honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I would do something fun. An Ask Me Anything, or AMA. All you Followers of Fear will have the opportunity to ask me questions and get some answers (assuming the questions are appropriate, of course).

But this isn’t just any AMA. Oh no, that would be too dull. No. This will be an AMA with a prize!

That’s right. One lucky Follower of Fear will receive a special prize for submitting a question to the AMA. And no, Iseult, it’s not a dragon bat! Not even a baby one. Trust me, even small ones would be too much for most people to handle.

Rather, this prize will be a surprise (or is that sur-prize?). You’ll have to wait till August 2nd to find out what the prize is and who the winner will be.

As for how to participate in the AMA, here are the directions. Just send an email with your question (just one question per person, mind you) and where you’re from to my email address, ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com. Use the subject “Ten Year Anniversary AMA.” Send them in by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021. Prize winner will be announced at the end of the AMA post.

Or posts, if this thing gets a lot of questions. You never know.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you’ll participate and ask some awesome, silly, mysterious, thoughtful, penetrating, strange, and/or universe-destroying questions.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Recently, the United States celebrated the first occurrence of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. For those unaware, Juneteenth commemorates when General Gordon Granger of the Union Army entered Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865 and announced the end of slavery there. This was two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, though often emancipation had to be enforced by Union soldiers. Nevertheless, many African Americans count June 19th, known as Juneteenth, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Emancipation Day, as the day slavery ended and for celebrating African American culture.

President Biden signing the holiday into law makes Juneteenth the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. And hopefully, both holidays will now serve as opportunities to educate the masses on the history of African Americans in the United States and what they’ve gone through. It could even make for an interesting discussion when we contrast it with July 4th, Independence Day, which will be in just a few days.

That is, if teachers in certain states aren’t kept from talking about the stories behind Juneteenth and MLK Jr. Day by law.

If you’re from outside the United States or just haven’t heard, many state legislatures are enacting laws to try and keep teachers in those states from teaching Critical Race Theory, or any form of in-depth discussion of race’s effect on the history and culture of the United States. Opponents say that CRT or any other form of in-depth discussion as “left-wing propaganda” or “trying to shame white people for actions of the past.” Some of these bills have been passed into law, which might technically make discussion of why we have these holidays technically illegal.

Which worries me, because as we’ve seen, ignorance isn’t bliss. It only furthers divisions.

You probably heard of this, but recently, a certain United States congrresswoman compared mask mandates in the US to the Yellow Star worn by Jews in Nazi Germany and Nazi-controlled areas. This same congresswoman then defended herself, saying that any rational Jewish person would agree with her.

Well, I may be eccentric, but I am Jewish and I consider myself rational. And I think there’s a huge difference between public health measures that are meant to protect people from disease–you know, like having proper sewage disposal systems rather than letting poop contaminate our drinking water and cause cholera outbreaks like what happened in 19th-century London?–and measures that were meant to isolate and stigmatize people of a minority religion, keep them from most professions and taking part in a nation’s political, economic and social circles. These same people were then forbidden to practice their religion, forced into tiny communities and concentration camps, and endured harsh slave labor and systematic murder.

Last I checked, no one is trying to do any of that with people who don’t wear masks or aren’t vaccinated. Governments and businesses just want people to continue following measures taken to keep people from getting sick. You know, like not mixing poop into your drinking water? Victorian Londoners learned that one the hard way!

Anyway, that congresswoman realized she made a mistake, went to the Holocaust Museum in DC, and publicly apologized for her comments. And I want to believe she’s at least learned some kind of lesson from this. But I know that there were plenty of people who backed up her ignorance when she was defending herself, and would have resisted any attempts for her, or for themselves, to find out that why what they said and did was wrong.

I can only chalk some of this response to blatant white supremacy and anti-Semitism. It is part of it, no doubt, but ignorance has played its part as well. Since the Civil War, many history textbooks have been written with the aim of keeping people ignorant of the actual causes of the war, the horrors of slavery, or why things are still very unequal. And while Holocaust education has made great strides since WWII, it’s not emphasized enough if the level of ignorance displayed by our elected leaders is anything to go by.

(Not to mention the number of Holocaust deniers out there.)

Look, I’m white. I may not be treated as such sometimes because of my religion (anti-Semitism is weird that way), but I am white. And I’ve never once felt ashamed of my skin color due to learning of how white people treated black people in the past. Our fifth grade history unit mainly focused on the slave trade, Underground Railroad, and the Civil War, and I feel like it allowed me to feel more empathetic to African Americans. At the same time, I wish I had learned about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, which was basically an American pogrom, or the coup in Wilmington, North Carolina, which I’m still fuzzy on.

Both events, by the way, I only learned about in the last year! And that doesn’t sit right with me.

From the way I’ve been writing this, you would think that I’m going to conclude that a better handle on history would solve these problems. I wish it were so easy. There has to be a multi-pronged approach to fixing not just the ignorance of the past, but the divisions and pain of the present so they don’t continue into the future. But teaching a history that takes in multiple perspectives, follows more than one or a few groups, and takes a look on how those histories affect our modern day world and culture, would be one of those prongs.

Otherwise, nothing will change. No matter our background, us and our descendants will not receive a history that’ll help us deal with the modern world. We’ll just receive some stories with lies, propaganda and fairytales mixed in. And teaching fiction as truth helps no one.

General Mark Miley testifying before Congress on why critical race theory is taught at West Point.

And we also have to learn why certain circles, mainly composed of white conservatives, have come out so strong against CRT. To quote General Mark Miley, who recently testified before Congress on critical race theory being taught at West Point, “I want to understand white rage–and I’m white.” This pairs very well with what my recently retired boss, who is African-American, gave as the reason why we needed a European American group in our organization, alongside groups for African-American, Latinx, Asian Americans, Native American, LGBT, veterans, and disabled employees,* “We need to have EVERYBODY at the table.”

I completely agree. We need everybody at the table. Because all Americans are at the table. And we need to be better able to understand each other if we want this country to continue on. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that, like a table with rotten legs, it’ll simply collapse.


Thanks for reading this essay, everyone. I know this was a rather unusual sort of post for me to write, but given current events in this country, I felt it was necessary. I look forward to discussion in the comments, but I only ask that you keep things civil. After all, the only things that are supposed to intimidate or scare people on this blog are me and my stories! The comments section are neither.

Until next time, Followers of Fear, thanks for reading, and pleasant nightmares.

*For those who don’t know, my day job is at a supply agency where I work in an office that promotes diversity and inclusion in the workforce. My main duties involve getting accommodations for disabled employees so they can do their jobs, arranging interpreting for deaf employees, and assisting with programs meant to highlight the contributions and accomplishments of the various groups above. It’s a fulfilling job in many different ways.

It’s hard to believe that two years have passed by since Rose was released. For one thing, 2020 felt like it was way longer than a year. And January 2021 felt like at least three months. Still, it’s been two years since Rose was released, and so I’m celebrating it with you today.

So if you’re unaware, Rose is a novel I wrote that was released June 20th, 2019 by Castrum Press, based in Belfast, North Ireland. The novel follows Rose Taggert, a young graduate student who wakes up in a greenhouse with no memory of the past two years. Suddenly, she undergoes a transformation into a plant/human hybrid! And then, as people around her react to her new form, particularly a young man who claims to be her boyfriend and to have saved her life, she realizes that not everyone can be trusted. Dark forces are swirling around her, and if she’s not careful, not only will her life be forfeit, but her loved ones as well.

Rose Trivia

I’ve heard that readers love behind-the-scenes trivia about books they’ve read or they’re considering reading. Especially if it comes from the original author. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d do some trivia for Rose’s anniversary today. Hopefully you find it interesting.

  • The original idea for this novel came to me in a science fiction class at school. Back in college, I was taking a Science Fiction & Fantasy literature course (yes, Ohio State taught that class, because Ohio State is awesome). I was just sitting in class, listening to the lecture, when the basic idea for Rose just popped into my head. I liked the idea, so I wrote it down in my idea notebook and set it aside for later.
    Later on, when it came time to do my senior thesis, I decided to write Rose and had that very same teacher from my Science Fiction class be one of my critics for the novel.
    So if anyone ever says a Liberal Arts degree doesn’t pay, point them my way. I benefited so much from one!
  • Rose took fifteen months to get edited for publication, and it was the most anxiety-producing time of my life. I’ve had an anxiety disorder for a few years now, and I’ve been pretty good about keeping it under control and not letting it interfere with my life. That being said, Rose was accepted during the time when I was just learning how to control that disorder, and all the edits and rewrites I had to do to get the book ready for publication just sent my anxiety into overdrive. It took a lot of work to calm me down, let alone get work done on the novel. I was just overwhelmed by it all. Figuring out how to rewrite the story, trying not to disappoint readers or the publisher or myself. Fearing that the story would be hated and then I would be hated because I was the writer. Even just general, irrational fear bothered me on a daily basis.
    It probably didn’t help that I had to rewrite two-thirds of the novel because one of those thirds was irrelevant flashbacks and the other third was dependent on those flashbacks.
    Thankfully, I was able to learn coping strategies and get inspiration on how to rewrite the story. The result was that I was able to put out Rose. And I’m happy to say that none of my anxieties have come to pass.
  • I got to use some of my ballet knowledge in this story. After college, I became a huge fan of ballet, to the point that I and my family actually buy subscription packages to our local company’s shows every year. And in the novel, Rose’s younger sister Maddie is a ballerina.
    In the first couple of drafts, Maddie was a very minor character and her dancing only got one or two mentions. However, when it became apparent that nearly two-thirds of the novel needed to be rewritten, I saw an opportunity to expand Maddie’s role in the story, and thus her career. I even got to teach my editor the word barre, which he thought was an error on my part but which is actually a technical term from the French.
    And since I’m a big ballet fan, you can expect it to appear in another story someday. Maybe even more prominently than it does in Rose. Only time will tell!

What the Readers Say

At the time I’m writing this, Rose has more reviews than any single one of my books. And I’m happy to say that the majority of people have really enjoyed the novel. Here’s what they had to say.

Loved the premise and all of the descriptions of turning into a plant creature, as well as several other body horror scenes, were disturbing in the best way. I also liked the psychological horror of the story and was often at the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.

My only criticisms were that sometimes the characters acted in ways I found unbelievable and some of the descriptions and explanations were a little too “on the nose” for me.

Overall, a solid horror story! I feel the strong beginning and surprising and intense ending made this a great horror experience and a book I would definitely recommend.

(Also, I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was superb!!)

Emma, United States

I didn’t know what to expect going into Rose, but I was intrigued first by the cover, and second by the description. Listening to Rose Taggert’s story as she tries to figure out what has happened to her and why she has no memory of the last two years was fascinating, especially as her boyfriend Paris’ version doesn’t really make sense the more she digs. She learns what obsession and power can do, as she is transformed into something not human, and those she loves are brought into danger. I enjoyed the book, and even though I saw what was coming, the way it came was unexpected. Sara Parlier’s narration was very good, and I look forward to hearing more from her.

Manakalita, Audible

In this work, Rami Ungar paints a captivating picture of Japanese folklore and magic, which serves as a backdrop for a story about captivity, manipulation, and possession! His narrative style also captures the dread and claustrophobia of being a captive, not to mention the twisted pathology of the captor! Scary stuff, and all the while you’re rooting for the bad guys to get their just desserts!

Matthew Williams, author of The Formist Trilogy, Canada

And this is just three of the many reviews Rose has acquired over the past two years. I’d guesstimate that there’s fifty individual reviews across the various websites and platforms. Maybe more.

Granted, not all of the reviews have been positive. I’ve had some one or two-stars here and there. One mixed review was published on a prominent website a month or two ago! Still, reviews like that make me want to work harder and show readers how much I can improve. Hopefully that shows in the stories I’ve written since then and which will be coming out later.

Do You Wanna Check the Book Out?

If any of this makes you interested in reading Rose, I’ll be including links below. I would love to hear what you have to say on the novel. And if you do end up reading Rose, let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, and it helps me out in the long run. Not to mention it helps readers figure out whether Rose is for them or not.

The best way to do so is to leave a review on Amazon/Audible or Goodreads, but I’ll be happy with a mention anywhere.

And thanks again to Paul and the team at Castrum Press, as well as The Golden Quill who did the artwork. It was a great and edifying experience working with you, and I hope we can do so again someday.

Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, Snake’s seven-year publishing anniversary occurred recently as well. The story follows a serial killer hunting members of a powerful Mafia family in New York City. If you haven’t checked that one out yet, either, I’ll include the links below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope I get to hear what you think of Rose (or Snake) very soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Good evening! Or is it morning? Whatever. So, as you are no doubt aware, IABE Chicago was canceled recently due to that stinking COVID-19 virus causing issues with the venue. The organizers, being a determined lot, scoured the area for a new location. And guess what? They found one!

Indie Author Book Expo Aurora will be taking place on August 7th, 2021 at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora, Illinois, about an hour west of Chicago. This will be an amazing gathering of authors of all sorts of backgrounds and stories, and from what the organizers tell me there will even be food vendors.

So, if there are any Followers of Fear in Chicago or the nearby area, or just general fans of books and supporting smaller-scale authors, then you won’t have to go too far out of your way to come out and see us. You can find out more information by checking out the Indie Author Book Expo website here.

And I’m happy to note that, while nothing is set in stone yet, there are some talks for events in the Halloween season. I’ll update you as soon as I have concrete news on that.

Anyway, I hope you’re having a good time wherever you are. And I hope I can see you in Aurora later this summer (if you can’t I’ll post links to my work below). If you need me, I’ll be posting about IABE on my social media and maybe filming a quick YouTube video. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

As I mentioned at the end of my recap of ParaPsyCon, I would talk about the supernatural parts of my trip in another post. Congratulations, here’s that post!

So, after the setup session on Friday afternoon, we had a bit of time to grab dinner before vendors who had signed up in advance could get a haunted tour of the prison. Because, as we all know by now, Ohio State Reformatory is one of the most haunted prisons in America (click here and here for my past experiences at the prison). I grabbed some dinner, then came back to the prison. Plenty of other vendors were there early, so we stuck around taking photos and discussing ghost hunting/the paranormal/our various booths/etc. About 7:30, they let us into the prison and we started checking in. After that, we were divided into three groups. I was in Group 3, the smallest group, with the tour guide Lindsay leading the way.

I also had my writing colleague Tim McLaughlin, who you might have seen in the last ParaPsyCon post, was also in the group, and he filmed one of the videos taken during the tour.

And that’s a good point to bring up that I took plenty of video during the Ghost Walk. Below are the videos I took that I uploaded to my YouTube channel and either contain blatantly supernatural events or just interesting events during the story. Let me know if you catch anything I might have missed in the video, like EVPs or other unexplained phenomena.

The first video was taken right in front of Old Sparky, the electric chair housed at the Reformatory. Now, just to be clear, no scheduled executions ever took place at OSR, let alone with the electric chair. The executions took place at a prison in Columbus. After being retired, the chair was put into a warehouse before OSR scooped it up. And it apparently brought some of the spirits who died in that chair with them. In fact, Lindsay reported that some of these spirits, who may have been the worst of the worst in life, have been bullying the spirits of the prison!

And that leads to this video, which was taken with the Ghost Tube app on my phone.

This video is short, but what’s featured is extraordinary. In ghost hunting, you sometimes ask questions you already know the answer to in order to see if we’re actually speaking to a spirit and not just getting random responses. So, when I got a response that matched up with the historical record, that was a sign that we were speaking with an intelligent entity, not just getting random answers on the dowsing rods. Proof of the paranormal!

Later, we went into some of the more administrative parts of the prison, which led to the Chair Room, infamous for both its lack of windows and its titular, possibly haunted piece of furniture.

This video doesn’t contain too many paranormal instances beyond the messages I got on the app (and I don’t have any clue what they were referring to), but the stories were quite interesting. Imagine if someone was able to test if the chair did move through the night. What could happen?

My last video took place in the West Cell Block Attic, which is usually off the regular tours. As Lindsay says below, there was a time when the worst of the worst had to be stored in that attic temporarily due to a fire. They were kept separate from the regular population, who were non-violent first-time offenders. Not surprisingly, we got a few spirits in there, and one of them may have spoken to me during the video. What they said had an interesting parallel to what Lindsay says later in the video.

Please be aware, the video is restricted to 18+ viewers due to some nasty language in the video. Can’t be too careful, can you?

Pretty cool, huh? I hope I can someday do a proper investigation in the attic as well. Though if the spirits are in a bad mood, that could end up being dangerous.

Did anything weird happen that wasn’t caught on camera? Well, we might have gotten a few odd smells, especially in the warden’s living area. One warden and his wife are said to haunt the area and you can sometimes smell her rosewater perfume. I don’t think I smelled anything, but some other people might have.

In a couple places, I swear I heard whispers with no discernable source. In one room in particular, one with two large closets, I heard whispers from the closet further back from me. I looked inside, but there was no one there. I mentioned it to LIndsay, and she said I probably heard something after all.

Then, while going through the West Cell Block, I stopped by James Lockhart’s cell (you may remember him from some of my previous videos). I didn’t have a lot of time to ask him anything on the dowsing rods, let alone film it, but I did ask him how he was doing. He said he was well, which was nice. He died by self-immolation, so I’m happy to hear he’s doing better.

Later, in the shower room, Lindsay used her own dowsing rods to introduce us to the Baseball Team, a group of nine spirits who are obsessed with the Dodgers (though they prefer them from before they moved to LA and were known as The Bums). She says these spirits like to hear the latest baseball scores and will hang out with the prison archivist in the library when the latter is working. From what Lindsay says, the archivist will play movies and music for them and see what they like using dowsing rods (obviously, they’re sick of Shawshank Redemption).

I managed to ask using my own dowsing rods if they might be interested in audio books, and even got a response. Apparently, they would like audio books, but they’re not interested in fantasy. They are, however, interested in horror. I told this to Lindsay later and she mentioned she would pass it onto the archivist, but I’ll have to follow up to see if she actually did.

Hmm…perhaps I’ll get some fans on the other side if I send them an audio copy of Rose.

Other than that, nothing supernatural that I can recall. There were some moments where I thought I saw something, but it turned about to be something ordinary. In solitary, for example, I thought I saw an orb, but it turned out to be a reflection from the exit sign off a security camera. DEBUNKED!

And then on Sunday, right before the convention started, one of my neighbors and I thought we saw a bright light moving across the ceiling. Sadly, that was just a reflection off someone’s watch. DEBUNKED!

All in all, I had a lot of fun with this Vendor Ghost Walk. Yeah, I would love to have spent more time in various areas and trying to catch some spooky happenings. Maybe even on camera. But it was still cool to see some of the history and hauntings I wasn’t aware of or forgot about since my last trip to the prison. And taking a tour with so many other vendors was fun too.

If you ever get the chance to do a ghost walk at the Ohio State Reformatory, I highly recommend it. It may even whet your appetite to do a private ghost hunt, something I hope to do someday.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have exercise to do, stories to write, and other tasks to take care of. I’ll catch you on the flipside. Make sure to check out my YouTube channel in the meantime. And until next time, pleasant nightmares!

I’m sure you’re all champing at the bit to hear how ParaPsyCon was. And I think the best word to describe it would be AWESOME! I mean, it was a convention full of ghost hunters, psychics and mediums, and authors, among others, inside the Ohio State Reformatory, one of my favorite places on Earth (as well as one of the most haunted). I got to meet so many cool people, hear about so many different businesses and places, and, of course, I may have minted some new Followers of Fear.

Now, of course I took a lot of pictures and video. In fact, I created this YouTube video, which you can see below.

Fun fact: this video was originally supposed to be longer, but due to a glitch some of the footage I took got corrupted. I figured out what caused it and how to avoid it in the future, but I had to make some cuts because of the issue.

Which is unfortunate, because even if the video was at the intended length, you only get so much from it. ParaPsyCon was an experience, and the video only relays so much of that experience. So, let me tell you all about my trip to the Ohio State Reformatory this past weekend and what occurred there.*

I love coming to this place.

So, if you’re unaware, ParaPsyCon is a convention held at the Ohio State Reformatory, an old prison in Mansfield, Ohio that’s now a museum, filming location (most notably The Shawshank Redemption), and haunted hotspot. The convention was held in three areas across two floors: the West Cell Block, where the bigger tables and the celebrities were (I don’t show it in the video, but the prison showers were turned into a makeshift auditorium. I wish I’d taken a photo, it was so surreal); the Central Guard Room, which one could call the center of the convention; and the East Diagonal Room, where I was situated.

And this convention had everything. Ghost hunters and paranormal groups were showing us their equipment and the books about their experiences, while mediums were doing readings and authors like myself were trying to rope in new readers (I also did Tarot readings). But that was just a small fraction of the booths. There were people selling T-shirts, jewelry, self-care products. One or two booths specialized in reiki healing, while one woman near me was selling jewelry she said could improve moods and mental states. There was another table advertising the Haunted 1889 McInteer House in Kansas (a place I’m adding to my next list of haunted locations), while down the row from me were a mother and daughter selling creepy dolls which I wished I could afford.

My friend Tim McWhorter’s booth looks pretty cool.
Tim McLaughlin and his wife Carol at their booth.
The table I mentioned with the creepy dolls. I wish I could have bought them, but they cost too much for me!
Did I forget to mention meeting Bumpy, the mascot for the Bump in the Night Society?

Not to mention the number of tables selling New Age products, cool sculptures and crystals and jewelry, homemade soaps and snacks, books and Tarot cards and so much more. There was an even a table for a group that believes Bigfoot might be real, if you can believe it! And who knows? While I’m skeptical, there’s plenty in this world I don’t know about.

Of course, I already had a few friends at this convention. Greg and Kathy Fetekik of Tri-C Ghost Hunters, whom you may remember from my trip to the Bellaire House last year, were running the convention and it was cool to see them again. Plus, there was Tim McWhorter and Tim McLaughlin, whom you saw in the video, two authors I’ve gotten to know fairly well through HWA Ohio and through Twitter. It was nice seeing them.

And it was nice seeing so many people at the convention. We had a really good turnout, which I chalk up to a number of factors, including the location, convention subject, and people just wanting to get out during a pandemic. I’m not sure how many people were there, but the parking lot was full both times I went out to grab lunch (they had concessions in front of the prison), and they had cars parked on the grass. So there’s that.

Hell, even my dad and stepmom stopped by to see how I was doing. That was a nice surprise (and yes, they were originally supposed to be in the video, but their footage was corrupted as well).

My table wasn’t the most extravagant, but it still got some good traffic.

My favorite part though was probably all the people coming to my booth. I actually got quite a bit of traffic, even though my booth was one of the more understated of the convention. I handed out a lot of my business cards, but I also got to do plenty of Tarot readings, which most people found accurate to their circumstances. I’ve gotten very good at reading Tarot since Iowa last year, so I think that helped. That and maybe my cards really are magic.

And, of course, I got to sell some books. All my books–The Quiet Game, Snake, and Rose, as well as the chapbooks of “Agoraphobia” and “Mother of the King”–sold copies. And it was a delight to have so many people get excited to read my work, and then to sign said work for them. I hope I get to hear from them soon about what they thought.

All in all, I consider ParaPsyCon a great experience and came home exhausted but glad I went. I made some great memories (not to mention bought some great souvenirs), and managed to make about double what I put down on my table. And I got some great ideas on how to improve for next year should I go (which I think is a good possibility). For one thing, I’m investing in a sign with changeable letters, so that could draw in more attendees who like horror at future conventions.

For now though, I’ve got video evidence to review, souvenirs to hang up, a podcast tomorrow (click here to check that out), and–oh yeah, stories to write. Not to mention, I’ve got things I can’t talk about yet until the time is right and a day job that’s eating up a lot of my time. So I’ll catch up with you later, my Followers of Fear. I hope this post made you want to consider going to the next ParaPsyCon, no matter where you are right now.

Either that, or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Or both. I’m not picky.

Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

*I’ll be saving the supernatural stuff for another post, as I still have to look over some of the footage I took and see if I got anything spooky on camera. However, I can say that I did experience some things, so keep an eye out for more videos and another post.