Archive for the ‘Living and Life’ Category

It’s unusual that I give an update on draft progress when I’m in the middle of the third draft. Usually after the first draft, I only give updates when the draft is finished. However, given the unusual journey and evolution Rose has gone through, as well as the all the work that still needs to be done, I feel that giving an update at the one-third mark is warranted. Let me explain:

I began work on Rose during my senior year of college as my thesis project. I had been sitting on the idea for about a year by that point, and had done quite a bit of thinking into what sort of story I wanted to tell. I started in September 2014, went back and started all over again when I realized the direction I was going in was all wrong for the story, and then finally managed to finish the first draft in January 2015. I then banged out a second draft in time for thesis discussions in April 2015. At those discussions (which you can read more about here), I was given a number of suggestions on how to improve the novel for the third draft, after which I could probably start thinking about publishing.

One of those suggestions, which I did not mention in the post about the discussions, was that I add a whole lot more words to the word count. Like, ten to twenty-thousand words more.

Yeah. I know. Even seasoned authors might find that a difficult challenge to accept.

In any case, I planned to get back to this story eventually, just not immediately. I first went to work in Germany, and then went through the job search. During that time, Rose was never far from my mind, but I never felt it was the right time to work on that story. After I got my new job and moved into my own apartment though, I did feel like revisiting the story. And I utterly floundered trying to edit it. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, moving had entirely changed my routine, and without being able to get that routine back, I was unable to edit as I used to. Thus, it took me three months just to get through five chapters. After that, I had to stop and reevaluate what I was doing if I was to continue writing at all.

And then two months ago, deciding I needed a break from work on Full Circle, I began working on Rose again, even though I thought I wouldn’t get to it until after my Boston trip. With a new routine in place, I managed to get through the five chapters I edited last year in weeks rather than months. And then I got through Chapter 6, and then finally Chapter 7, finishing edits on that about an hour before I left to go see The Dark Tower.

And now I’m one-third of the way through the book. And it feels almost like I’m working with a totally different story, like this is the first go-around with Rose rather than the third draft of (and the fourth dive into) the story. Hence why I feel it is necessary to write a progress report at this point in the third draft.

So if you’re new around here, you’re probably wondering at this point, “Okay, but what’s the novel about?” To put it simply, Rose is about an amnesiac girl who finds herself turning into a plant creature. It is as bizarre as it sounds, more bizarre than I remember it. But it’s also a very dark story, exploring themes like abuse and dependence in relationships, as well as how truth, falsehood, and memories shape our perceptions of our ourselves and others. So yeah, as bizarre (and possibly comical) as it sounds, it is still a scary story.

And I have to say, editing is going very well. I’m incorporating as many of the suggestions from my thesis discussion as I can, and I’m definitely seeing an improvement in the story. The characters definitely feel like they’re actual people in this strange situation, and I feel like if this book does get published, people will really respond to it.

As for that suggestion to add ten to twenty-thousand words, I’m actually doing okay with that. I’ve thought about scenes I’ve wanted to expand, and I’ve even looked ahead to certain parts of the book to see where I can make some additions. And in the first seven chapters, I think I’ve done a good job of that. Let me break down the numbers (already I can hear my longtime readers groaning about that, they know I love to do this): in the second draft, the first seven chapters measured up to 44 pages (8.5″ x 11″, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced) and 13,579 words. In the third draft, I’m at 70 pages (same parameters) and 20,990 words. That’s an increase of 26 pages and 7,411 words. And I like to think none of it is unnecessary.

So what’s next? Well, I’ll get to work on the next fourteen chapters, and hopefully be done with the end of the draft by the end of September. I’ll also try to add another three-thousand to thirteen-thousand words, if I feel that amount would help with the story. After that…I’m thinking beta readers, more editing, and then maybe an agent/publisher. We’ll see.

Well, it’s late, so I’m off to bed, my Followers of Fear. You have a pleasant night and pleasant nightmares. Until next time!

Happy Birthday to the blog,
Happy Birthday to the blog.
Happy Birthday to Rami Ungar the Writer,
Happy Birthday to the blog.

Six years.

I’m supposed to say that it went by super-fast, but it feels like it actually has been six years (though the past eight months or so have gone by in a flash). I think it’s how much my life has changed that really sells me on the fact that six years have gone by. When I first started out on this blog, it was at a library computer station. I was eighteen years old, had yet to start college, and I was sure this blog would bring me lots of readers for my first published book when that finally happened. My only regular readers back then were my parents, and I think they read mostly to be supportive (and to make sure I didn’t post anything on my blog that would get me in trouble later in life).

Today I’m twenty-four, I’m working in a good job and living in my own apartment. I’ve got four books out, and while I’m still not a world-famous writer, I’m taking steps so that someday I can be a full-time writer. Maybe. My readers come from all over the United States, as well as from Canada, Europe, and farther away. They’re writers and readers and horror fans and just people who, for one reason or another, like what I have to say on this or that subject. We have conversations in the comments, and some of these people become good friends with me. Once or twice, we even meet in real life (or make plans to but can’t due to issues of customs).

And you know what? This all happened because of you. Yes you, whoever you are, reading this blog post. Yes, I supply the content, but every time someone has tuned in and read a post, offered a like or their thoughts, and when they decide to follow me so as to get future posts, they keep me writing and interacting with this community.So thanks, my Followers of Fear. I really appreciate you being here for me, through thick and thin, highs and lows, reviews and political rants (dammit, admitting the United States isn’t perfect is not un-patriotic! It’s a desire to make this nation better). I hope you’ll stay with me for all that comes in the next year, whatever that happens to be.

Speaking of which, what do I want from the next year? Blogging and writing-wise, anyway.

Well, I would like to reach a thousand followers, and that might actually happen this year. I’m within a hundred followers of that, so I think it could happen. I’d also like to write some more good posts and have good discussions with the many friends and acquaintances I’ve met through this platform. I’d also like to get a few more stories written, edited, and published. I especially hope I’ll finish Rose and maybe get it represented by an agent. Will that happen? Well, if people’s reactions to the story’s idea and my college advisers’ feedback is any indication, that could very well happen. Hard work and a bit of luck can do wonders, after all.

Well, that’s all for now. There’s a Stephen King movie coming out this weekend, so expect a review very soon, my Followers of Fear. And until then, pleasant nightmares!

 

I was tagged again by my friend Kat Impossible from Life and Other Disasters. Well, technically she tagged anyone who’s a writer who read the post, but I’m pretty sure I at least crossed her mind as someone who would do this post. Anyway, let’s get started.

What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

Well, there’s an easy one. Horror stories, of course (though I do like the occasional dive into science fiction). Usually my stories revolve around teenagers and young adults finding themselves in fantastical and terrible situations, usually ones involving the supernatural. However, they’re often human stories where the characters are growing and sorting through an internal conflict while dealing with an external conflict. At least, in the novels that’s how it is. With the short stories, it may just be me writing a story and trying to leave an impression on the reader.

How long have you been writing?

Probably since I could string two words into a sentence on a page. *laughs* But I don’t think I started writing seriously with the goal of being a great author until I was maybe ten or so. I think it was a conscious decision that I liked to write, so I should make that my life. But it could have easily just been a gradual thing where I found myself entranced by storytelling, doing it often, and then someday knowing that this is what I want to do.

Why do you write?

Besides the fact that I enjoy storytelling? Well, I have a pretty active imagination. I spend a good chunk of each day in stories, whether they be books, movies, TV shows, or daydreams. While they’re up in my head, they can be pretty fluid and volatile, changing and shifting and God only knows what. I’m neuroatypical, so while I love being an eccentric, I do like a little order in my head sometimes. Writing these stories down helps to exorcise them from my brain and make them static. It’s freeing, in its way.

Plus, I just LOVE sharing my stories with people and getting their feedback (it’s an author vanity thing. We all have them, to some degree).

What is the best time to write?

I’d like to say, “Whenever.” However, I find the evening is the best time to write. Since high school, evenings have often been the only time available to me to write. Yeah, sometimes in the afternoons or even the mornings opportunities to write come upon me, but often it’s limited to the evening, especially after so many years of doing this. Perhaps if I ever become able to write full-time, I can work on being more flexible, but for now it’s not until after dinner that I’m able to effectively summon those creative energies.

What parts of writing do you love and hate?

I love:

  • Being able to tell a story and exorcise them from my head.
  • Share my stories with people.
  • Be as creative and dark as I want to be.

I hate:

  • How easily ideas come to me but how hard it is to get even one of them on the paper
  • Not having a large audience

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Usually when that happens there’s a problem somewhere in the story and I need to go back to fix something before I can move forward. That’s usually how it works, anyway.

Are you working on something at the moment?

At the moment I’m editing my college thesis Rose, about a girl who starts turning into a plant. I’m in the middle of the third draft, and I’m nearly a third of the way through. I hope after this draft I can start having it looked at by beta readers, but we’ll see where we are when I’m done.

What are your writing goals this year?

Finish the third draft of Rose and get a few short stories written and published. And if I can manage it, I’d like to reach a thousand followers.

I TAG YOU, BLOGOVERSE!

Do you write? You do! Great, you’re tagged. Have fun, and make sure to link back to me when you do.

I actually almost missed this milestone. I was going to bed Saturday evening, and I was like, “Wait a minute, that’s Monday! Note to self: write a blog post in the morning after cleaning the bathroom.” And now that the bathroom is squeaky clean (as well as the kitchen, which also needed a touch up), I’m taking the time to talk about this milestone and ask myself, “Has it really been four years? Blimey, it feels longer.”

So if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, here goes: about five years ago, during my sophomore year of college, I started putting together a collection of short stories. I was still editing Reborn City at the time, and I wanted to have something to work on while the editing process of that took its time, as well as something to release and test the waters of self-publishing. A short story collection felt like a good idea. So I wrote five scary stories in about a couple of months, edited them and had other writers/horror fans look at them, and designed a cover. On July 17th, 2013, I published The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones on Amazon and Smashwords, later putting them on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

The five stories in the book are: Addict, about a man dealing with trying to kick his sex addiction; I’m Going to be the Next James Bond, about a bunch of kids who go to an abandoned hospital to hunt for ghosts; In the Lady Ogre’s Den, about an autistic child’s stay in a hospital; The Quiet Game, about a Catholic school that finds itself cut off from the world and deaf all of a sudden; and Samson Weiss’s Curse, about a senator being stalked by a spirit known as a dybbuk.

This has been by far my most commercially successful book, not only because it’s been out the longest, but because it’s a very quick read, and costs less than my other books do, e-book and paperback. People who might not necessarily want a long read see this little collection of short stories, and that it’s received positive reviews, and they’re like, “Okay, let’s check it out.” For the most part, people love it. So for someone still growing an audience, that’s a pretty good achievement.

Speaking of reviews, this is also my most reviewed work. I think that the reasons for that are the same ones for why this has been my most commercial work to date. And as I said previously, it’s had some pretty good reviews, with a score of 4.1 on Amazon based on 14 reviews. Here’s what people have been saying about the book:

5 wonderfully crafted tales! I purchased this as an eBook originally and put off reading it for quite a while, I really wish I hadn’t waited. Sometimes when one purchases a collection of short stories you expect some of them to be less entertaining or of lower quality than the others, but none of these disappoint. Well worth the money, especially considering after you read each story the author gives you creative insight into what inspired him to write each tale, which is really wonderful.

–Jeff D.

This is not my genre, but since I know the author [:-)], I read the stories. Each one was very unique and created its own atmosphere and mood. My favorite story was the Quiet Game but I found the ending a little confusing since I didn’t really know the literary reference at the end; what I loved was the world created in the story and the message it conveyed. I look forward to the author’s improving his craft, and I will certainly read more.

–Gefilte63

Imagine if you will a young Stephen King penning dark scenarios inspired by his youth, and what you get is this anthology. Through this collection of short stories, Rami Ungar brings us into the world of dark urges, childhood traumas, ghosts, phantoms, and dark psychological thrillers. An inspired creation, and definitely a good intro to this indie author’s world!

–Matt Williams, author of “The Cronian Incident”

I especially like that last one calling me a young Stephen King. Always love being compared to him.

If any of this makes you want to read The Quiet Game or check out more reviews, I’ll include the links for the book below. An if you do end up reading the book, please make sure to leave a review. Positive or negative, I love feedback, and it helps me out in the long run.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I may have a new review out tonight, so keep an eye out for that. Until then, have a good one.

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

My good friend Kat Impossible from Life and Other Disasters (definitely check her out) tagged me for the 777 Challenge! Normally I don’t get tagged for these things, and when I do, I don’t always have the time for them. However, Kat only tags me for something if she thinks it’s up my alley, and it not only sounded fun to do, but it’s something I’m in a unique position to do because I’m currently working on something and I’m at a stage where I want to showcase something from it. That story, to be a bit more precise, is Rose, whose first chapter I just finished editing the other day (20 more to go!).

So what does one do when they are tagged for the 777 Challenge? Well, simple enough: share 7 lines from the 7th page of your WIP! They can be completely random if you want, it’s your story. Also, you can use a fun little graphic, like the one I created up above (it’ a skull made of shoes! How could I not use that?), but I’m pretty sure that’s optional.

So without further ado, here are some random lines from Rose, currently in its third draft:

  1. There’s another angry pulse, but that’s all that happens.
  2. My nails are turning a deep shade of pink as I stare at them, while the skin around them is turning light green, the skin tingling where it changes color.
  3. I blink, my eyes itching, and I know without having to look that they’ve turned green as well.
  4. “What the hell are these?” says the man, drawing my attention back to him.
  5. Maybe he’s just as scared as I am.
  6. Soon everything below the shoulders feels like it’s buzzing with electricity, until the green coloring climbs up my neck and spreads over my face.
  7. I wonder if whatever’s happening is over.

What did you think of that?

So now I have to tag some others and pass the challenge along. And I know just which three authors to challenge:

Check out their websites, because they’re awesome. Also make sure to link back to me if you decide to do the challenge, guys. I’d appreciate it.

That’s all for now. I hope you liked what you read and I hope my friends are willing to try this out. Until next time!

I swear, this is the last time I’m posting about my Boston trip. Unless I actually did capture ghost voices (or EVPs, as believers prefer), in which case there will be another post. Don’t worry though, that’ll take a while to accomplish, so don’t go to the unsubscribe button just yet. Also, this post will be a quick one…I think. I’m saying that while still writing it, so who knows?

Anyway, as you can tell from the title, this is about the souvenirs from my Boston trip. On Instagram I broke these down by type of souvenir (book, toy, etc), but here I think I’ll separate it by day or location. Why? Just makes more sense that way, it seems.

Independence Day souvenirs.

As I said in my last post, I went into a Harry Potter shop and a comic book shop on that day. I’m a Slytherin (mostly because I’m pure evil), so I bought some Slytherin gear from the Harry Potter shop. Specifically, a sticker and a tie.

The ancient and noble House.

I’m wearing this the next time I wear a tie.

From the comic book store I went a little crazy. In addition to some more stickers, I bought a couple of those Funko Pop dolls. Those who know me won’t be surprised which franchises I bought dolls from.

You know it’s true.

Looks great on my laptop.

My first, and probably my favorite Doctor.

Moonies forever!

Including all the anime figurines I’ve been collecting, I’m building quite the doll collection. And I’m not ashamed to say that.

Salem souvenirs.

It won’t surprise you that most of the souvenirs here are witch-related. They’re also all books. Well, there is a print of the House of the Seven Gables under a creepy moon, but it’s copyrighted, and the last thing I want is a copyright lawsuit on my hands, so forgive me if I don’t post a photo of that here.

Looks cool.

I’ve always been curious.

You knew this was going to be coming home with me.

This will make a great reference material.

I swear, it’s another reference book. I’m not going to do anything evil…probably.

At least you can’t say I won’t get bored or go without reading material for a while.

Lizzie Borden souvenirs.

Luckily, I went easy on the souvenirs here. And of course, they are so totally me.

Because I’m on a true crime kick lately.

 

Not going to lie, this doll creeps even me.

So that’s all my souvenirs. Pretty cool, huh?

That’s all for now…on Boston, anyway. I probably won’t post anything new until the weekend so you don’t get sick of me, but if something big comes up, I’ll probably have to talk about it. In the meantime, I’m going to work on Rose for a little while. Wish me luck, and good night, my Followers of Fear. Pleasant nightmares!

Boston’s Old North Church.

Yep, I’m on this topic again. After giving a detailed account of the highlight of my trip, my stay at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, I decided to just do what my friend Kat Impossible does when detailing her week while traveling in Canada, and just go through each day in a paragraph or two. After all, I’ve got a lot of editing on Rose to catch up on, so better not waste any more time, right?

So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of my trip:

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017: Independence Day

So my dad picks me up a little before seven, and we drive off to the airport. The Columbus airport is normally pretty quiet, and today it’s even quieter because of the holiday. We get on our plane and are in Boston by eleven, so we head to the hotel using Boston’s subway system, the T. We get to the hotel, the Eliot, which is this really nice building with a marble lobby and cookies left for you in your room. We head out after dumping our bags to go on a Freedom Trail tour, in which someone in 18th century garb takes us on a tour of the areas of Boston associated with the Revolutionary War (and on America’s birthday, that’s really special). The tour is pretty interesting, and we learn some amazing things about America’s war heroes (turns out, Paul Revere isn’t actually the hero we think he is).

After that, we go on a Duckboat Tour, which is a tour of Boston given on a WWII-era amphibious vehicle that goes on land and in water. Our tour guide calls himself Harley Davidson, and he dresses just like a biker, but he tells hilarious stories, ranging from an actual flood of molasses in Boston’s streets, and how he once gave a tour to the New York Yankees, nearly costing them the game while he was at it. He also tells us some interesting facts about Boston, including how the town was the sight of many firsts in medicine, but he peppers the stories with plenty of puns. After the tour ends, we head to Newbury Street, a street near our hotel with all these trendy shops and restaurants. My dad and I grab Vietnamese, and then I go a little overboard on souvenirs at a Harry Potter shop and a comic book shop (can you blame me?).

Abba and I by the cannonss.

We go back to the hotel to rest before meeting a friend of ours for Boston’s Independence Day Celebration, which is this huge outdoor concert with all these famous singers: Bryan Stokes Mitchell, Leslie Odom Jr, Melissa Etheridge, and Andy Grammer. Our friend gets us seats with the military families, so we’re right near the front of the party, and we even see some of the performers up close (I actually got to shake hands and talk with Leslie Odom Jr and Bryan Stokes Mitchell, and even take a selfie with the latter). It’s all topped off with a performance of the 1812 overture with cannons, and my dad and I were so near the cannons that we felt the full blast every time one went off. Finally we saw the fireworks, and then we went home to sleep.

Wednesday, July 5th 2017: Salem

Abba and I get up the next day and head out to Salem, home of the famous witch trials. After a ride on a commuter train, we get to Salem, which if you didn’t know the history of the town, could be any little seaside resort town. We find the visitor’s center, and head out to the Salem Witch Museum, which recreates the trials and presents them in the framework of how fear and a single event can cause massive persecutions. After I again went a little overboard on the souvenirs, we walked to this cafe for lunch, and on the way there we found the famous Bewitched statue, at which I took this gem of a photo. We then took the time to see the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, which uses fences and open spaces to emphasize the fates of the accusers and the accused, before heading on to the Salem Witch Village, where modern Wiccans tell you about their belief systems.

I’m hanging on for dear life!

After that, we took a break from the witches and headed to the famous House of the Seven Gables, which was immortalized by the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was pretty cool to see this famous house in real life rather than just in my imagination, and to see that it actually had secret passageways! After that, we headed to the Peabody Essex Museum, which is this beautiful building filled with all this amazing artwork, and where we viewed an exhibit about steamliners, which was as educational as it was entertaining and beautiful.

After the musuem, we decided to head back to Boston, and after a rest in our hotel room, we headed to the North End, which features some of the best restaurants in Boston, as well as some of the best Italian you’ll have outside of Italy (if you don’t eat there, you’re wasting a trip to Boston). We ate at Giacomo’s, the #2 restaurant in the North End, and enjoyed the cuisine. We then stopped in Mike’s Pastry shop, which features the best cannolis in Boston, and enoyed a devilishly good desert before heading back to the hotel. We had a drink in their bar, and then headed off to bed.

Thursday, July 6th, 2017: MFA and Fall River

Me imitating Washington’s pose.

Very brief: we went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which was frankly lovely, and full of the most beautiful paintings and sculptures, some of which with real historical significance to America. After that, we picked up a rental car and headed south to Fall River. We grabbed lunch on the way, and tried to tour John Adams and John Quincy Adams’ childhood home, but all the tours were booked, so we just continued on to Fall River. After that, you know what happened: Lizzie Borden!

Friday, July 7th, 2017: Last Day

Being on a massive warship.

After checking out of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, Abba and I checked out Battleship Cove, a museum featuring actual warships from WWII, and Fall River’s other big tourist attraction. As this was what I studied in college, it was really cool to see these up close. After that, we headed back up to Boston, where we dropped off the rental car and got on the plane home.

 

So that was my time in Boston. I’ve got one more post planned, and unless I didn’t get any ghost voices on my digital recorder, that should be the last post on this trip for a while. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip, and that I haven’t bored you to death on the subject.

Until next time, Followers of Fear!