Archive for the ‘Novel’ Category

I’m sure this is the last thing you want to read on the first day of the year, but what the hell? I’m doing this sale, so might as well make sure everybody and their grandmother knows about it.

So, in the hopes of starting 2023 off on the right foot, I’m having a sale on most of the electronic versions of my books, of which I’ve listed below. This includes such terrifying tomes as my first collection, The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones; my slasher novel Snake, about a serial killer hunting members of a powerful mafia family; and The Pure World Comes, my Gothic horror novel about a maid going to work for a mad scientist and getting wrapped up in his odd science.

All these and more will be available for the first week of 2023 for only ninety-nine cents. And get this: the audio version of The Pure World Comes will be on sale as well from certain retailers. Not for under a dollar, but enough that it’ll make a considerable difference.

So, if you have been wanting to read my works but costs have been prohibitive, or you want some new horror to start the new year right, this is a great opportunity for you. I’ll post the links down below. And if you end up purchasing a book and reading it, and you like what you read, please leave a review to let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, it helps me as a writer, and it helps readers figure out if the books are worth their time.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I promise, my blog posts during the rest of the year will be the same stuff that you’ve come to expect and love (hopefully). Until next time, Happy New Year, good night and pleasant nightmares!

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Chirp, Spotify

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

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

Agoraphoboia: Amazon

Mother of the King: Amazon

I’ve been hearing about this one in one of my Facebook horror groups, so I got interested and got the audio book. And on the ride home from work, I finished it today.

Set in 1994, The Exorcist’s House follows the Hill family as they move into a farmhouse in West Virginia with the goal of flipping it for a profit before the new baby arrives. However, the house used to belong to a local exorcist who spent much of his life fighting demons. And there’s plenty to suggest that while the exorcist is no longer living there, or even living, something else is. And if the family doesn’t do something soon, they may not live much longer.

So, I couldn’t help but see this as kind of Conjuring-esque. I mean, it feels like something that would be inspired by The Conjuring. A family moves into an isolated home in the middle of the country with a history of the paranormal, demons start to oppress and try to possess them, it all takes place in an era that’s starting to become nostalgic in the public’s memory, an exorcist or two are involved in the story, and plenty of Catholicism to boot. Near the end, I couldn’t help but think that the author could do a whole shared universe around some of these characters, especially the exorcist of the title.

That’s not detracting from it, I’m just saying that’s how it feels.

All that being said, it was an enjoyable read. The story is well-written and the characters are quite fleshed out, especially mother Nora who has a strong character arc in regards to her own inner demons (pun intended). Even daughter Alice, who is a stereotypical teenager, is more than just a flat stereotype. There’s also some really scary scenes, such as the scene with Nora in the basement in the first half of the book (I got shivers while listening to that chapter in the car), as well as a few twists that I didn’t see coming.

And that ending! Not sure if the author really is setting up for a sequel or a shared universe al a The Conjuring, but even if he isn’t that ending left me satisfied as only a horror fan can be.

That being said, there are some tropes that we’ve seen a hundred times, such as an exorcist being brought in during the third act for the big confrontation, so at times it does feel a little predictable.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m going to award The Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts an even 4. Plenty of good scares, a decent story and possibly the launching point for a shared universe. Also, the audio book has a great narrator with a ton of range. Pick the format of your choosing and get settled in for a nice read.


That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. This will, in all likelihood, my last review of the year, and likely my last post of 2022 (unless something comes up between now and Saturday and 11:59 PM). Thank you all for your support in 2022 and I look forward to sharing with you my adventures, trials and accomplishments in 2023. Until next time, happy new year, good night and pleasant nightmares!

The original photo that started the Backrooms. At first, not too creepy, but then you realize that there’s no sign of human habitation. And that’s what makes it really terrifying.

Well, I didn’t think I’d get it done this weekend, but I somehow managed to do it. Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Boxing Day/Happy Holidays to me.

So, as I mentioned in my last article on Ginger Nuts of Horror, I was developing a story based on the Backrooms, an internet urban legend that’s become really popular in the past year or so. For those who don’t know, the Backrooms were inspired by a photo of an empty office decorated with yellow wallpaper and some accompanying text, both posted anonymously. The text went something like this:

“If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in
God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you.”

Spooky, no? The Backrooms has since gone viral, becoming a series of games, YouTube videos, and fan art, among other things. However, there isn’t a lot of prose fiction set in the Backrooms yet, so I thought I’d try to get ahead of the crowd and give it my own original twist while I was at it. After all, it was stuck in my head. Might as well make something with that.

Thus, I have created “It Changes You: A Backrooms Story,” which I have spent basically all of December working on. The story follows a bunch of people, particularly two teen girls named Kat and Ginger, who end up falling into the Backrooms, and what happens to them as they try to find a way out.

This story was a blast to work on for so many reasons. The first half is very strange and psychological, while the second half has body horror, some really gross stuff, and a bit of cosmic horror that was terrifying even to me! I also had a lot of fun making the main characters nerds into anime and Doctor Who like I am, and Kat in particular is a writer who also happens to be aromantic, like me.* I also based some characters loosely on characters from shows I watch, including Law & Order, and let my mind go in some really weird directions with this story, which allowed my characters to take over to a greater degree than I’d ever seen before with a story. Overall, it was just a great experience writing it.

And let’s not forget how much ambience helped me write this one. Prior to Kat and Ginger finding themselves in the Backrooms, I listened to YouTube videos of outdoor crowd ambience to get in the mood. Afterwards, I listened to ten-hour vids of fluorescent buzzing to really help me feel like I was in the Backrooms, and during the final scenes of the story, I listened to creepy horror music to get me in that cosmic horror mood.

And now this story is finished, a novella of decent length of nearly 27,000 words. Yeah, that long. No wonder it took all month to write. Anyway, I’ll let it rest a while before editing it and then sending it to a beta reader to look at. But honestly, I think it has potential. The Backrooms are still not as well known as other internet horror creations like Slender Man or Momo, so there’s plenty of room for this story to make a splash. That’s the hope, anyway.

So, now that this story is done, what’s next for me? Well, I’ll save that for another blog post. Right now, I haven’t had dinner, so I’m going to fill my belly, watch a late movie, and then hit the hay. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and happy holidays! I hope Krampus didn’t visit you this year. Or maybe I hope he did, I honestly don’t know how many other people love the guy like I do.

*Aromantic means I don’t feel romantic attraction or want to be in a romantic relationship. Like, I’m physically incapable of doing so. It’s a real thing and a discussion for another blog post, but I liked putting it into a story through one of my characters.


One more thing before I forget, my Followers of Fear: in the hopes of starting 2023 off on the right foot, I’m having a special sale on my published stories. The electronic copies of most of my books will be discounted to 99 cents for the first week of January, and the audio book of The Pure World Comes will also be discounted for that first week from certain retailers. If you’re interested, please head to the retailer of your choice after the new year and download a copy.

And if you like what you read, please leave me a review letting me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reviews, and they help me out in the long run. Not only that, but reviews help other readers figure out whether they want to read a story or not. Pretty sweet, right?

Right, now that’s the real end of this post. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

On today’s interview, I have a very special guest with an amazing story. Some of you are probably already familiar with her story: earlier this month, fellow Ohio author Chelsea Banning took to Twitter to vent her feelings. She’d been at a book signing for her debut fantasy novel, Of Crowns and Legends, where forty people RSVP’ed that they would attend, but only two arrived. The response from the Writing Community was unexpected and massive, with many authors, including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Joyce Carol Oates offering their own stories of poorly-attended events and offering their own help for Ms. Banning’s career. Stephen King even went out of his way to let his entire Twitter following know about her next event the moment she tweeted about it!

Since then, word about Of Crown and Legends has also spread and has become an Amazon bestseller with plenty of positive reviews (seventy-five at the time of posting). This is hopefully the beginning of a prosperous career, so I thought I’d pick the author’s brains sooner rather than later. So, please welcome Chelsea Banning, author of Of Crowns and Legends, to my blog.

Rami Ungar: Welcome to my blog, Chelsea. Tell us about yourself and your book, Of Crowns and Legends.

CB: My name is Chelsea and I am a Young Adult/Teen Librarian by day and author by night. I am also a self proclaimed geek. I love Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, cosplay, and Renaissance Faires. My book Of Crowns and Legends follows the twin children King Arthur was never supposed to have 20 years after his death. It is about their struggles to live in his shadow while also dealing with an upcoming war.

RU: I’m something of a big Arthurian legend fan myself, and have even written about it as well. What is it about the mythos that draws you to it?

CB: You know, it’s hard to say. I think it’s as mysterious as who exactly King Arthur is himself. There’s just some sort of magic that draws people into this story.

RU: Please describe your research and writing process for the book.

CB: I pretty much devoured any King Arthur book, movie, and TV show I could get my hands on. As I write, I did a bit of research along the way if I had questions. It’s a high fantasy, so it’s not historically accurate at all, but I did want to incorporate as much of myth as I could from all the different stories.

RU: Can you tell us about the book signing where only two people showed up and what happened later? What was your reaction to that?

CB: Yeah, I had reached out to Pretty Good Books after I saw them have another author signing. I had heard from quite a few of my friends saying they were planning on coming out, and then when the signing happened and only 2 people came, it was a little disheartening. I was still feeling a little bummed the next morning and just wanted to kind of get the feelings off my chest so they wouldn’t keep resonating in my head.

I did not expect it to take off the way it did and when I initially saw it, I was just in pure shock.

RU: Have any of the authors who encouraged and boosted you reached out to you personally? Have any of them read the book? What were their reactions to it?

CB: Brigid Kemmerer offered to help with advice about agents, and my old writing professor, Christopher Barzak, who is an award winning author himself, has been a huge help through all of this!

Joanne Harris offered some advice as well and it’s been so heartwarming. I love the writing community.

RU: So do I. Now, Of Crowns and Legends is currently an Amazon bestseller and averaging a 4.2 out of 5 there at the time of writing this. How does it feel to have found so many readers and getting so much positive feedback?

CB: It feels amazing. That’s every authors’ ultimate dream, isn’t it?

RU: Yes, it is. So, what’s next for you, both in terms of your writing and your career? Also, is there an audio version of your novel in the works? Asking for a friend who is actually me.

CB: I am currently working on book 2, as Of Crowns and Legends will be a trilogy. After completing this, I definitely plan to write more books. And I am working on an audio!

A very fantasy-esque photo of Of Crowns and Legends.

RU: Good to hear. Now, what are some books you’ve read recently and that you would recommend to other readers?

CB: Legendborn and Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn, Queen and Conqueror by Isabelle Olmo, The Black Witch Chronicles by Laurie Forest, Among the Hunted by Caytlyn Brooke and Akithar’s Greatest Trick by Jason Dorough.

RU: What is some advice you would give to other writers, regardless of background or experience?

CB: Keep writing and don’t give up. Do some research on the writing process and pick out what works for you. Not every writer will be the same, and once you found your rhythm, writing will start to come easier.

RU: Final question. If you were stuck on a desert island for a little while and could only take three books with you for the duration of your stay, what books would you pick?

CB: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Lord of the Rings, and The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider.

RU: Well thank you for joining me here, Chelsea. I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of Of Crowns and Legends.

If you would like to check out Of Crowns and Legends, you can find it at most retailers where great books are sold. And if you would like to connect with Chelsea Banning, you can find her on her website and on Twitter.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope this piqued your interest in the novel (my interest certainly was). Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares to all!

I hate that I never have enough time to read physical books. Audio books, I can listen to while working, cooking or driving, but a paperback takes time because I’m busy all the time. I’m glad I was finally able to get through this one, though it took much longer than I would have wanted to. Oh well. Here’s the review.

Ghost Eaters follows Erin Hill, a college graduate who feels purposeless and is trying to find some meaning or mooring in her life through the usual avenues: dating, a possible dream job, etc. The only bright spot in her life, as well as the one person who might be holding her back, is Silas, her friend and former lover from college, who has since spiraled and dies after a disastrous intervention. Desperate to connect with Silas one last time, Erin and her friends use an experimental drug called Ghost that supposedly connects you with your dear, departed loved ones. But be careful when you call out to the dead: you never know who might answer. And Erin is going to find that out the hard way.

What a book!

Ghost Eaters is an eerie novel that gives a chilling vision of not just what the afterlife could be like, but what might happen when you try to interact with the afterlife. Personally, I feel like anyone who reads this book will shudder at this depiction and hope whatever’s after death won’t be the same as in Ghost Eaters. Especially given the gruesome descriptions of the ghosts who are hungry for life and will go to disgusting means to get to it.

I also liked how effortlessly thematic the novel is. By another author, the book might hit you over the head with its ideas, but here it’s woven in quite well. The main themes are about addiction, both addiction to drugs, addiction to certain people, and addiction to connection. I also like how the addiction and dependence on Ghost has a very religious, cult-like air to it, especially towards the end of the book. In fact, one could make an argument that the relationship between a cult and its adherents can be an addiction, and that’s shown quite well here.

And speaking of which, Silas is kind of like a cult leader himself in the style of Charles Manson. He has this ability to make everybody around him feel special and loved, and they become hooked on that. It’s to the point even when they know they should drop him and later, when he dies, he still exerts a significant hold on their life.

I did have some issues with the story, however. Erin and her friends, for example, are not very likable. I think part of it is that they’re all so adrift, are barely able to live on their own, have no idea what they want in life and are trying to find meaning in all the wrong things (like Silas). And I know that’s something that a lot of people struggle with, but I feel like I’d like these characters more if they all got some much-needed therapy.

But then again, if they did that, I doubt we’d have a story, would we?

Anyway, Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman is one of the best books I’ve read this year (a small number, given my reading pace, but you get the idea). On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving this novel a 4.4 out of 5. I personally still like the author’s other novel, Whisper Down the Lane (see my review of that here), more, but I dig this book too. And I bet, with the right director and not too much of a reliance on CGI, it might make for a terrifying supernatural horror film. Give it a read and see for yourself.

Also, I feel like Ghost Eaters and the new Hellraiser film would make better tools to get kids from taking drugs than anything the DARE program ever came up with. Both deal with addiction and are frightening enough to make young people associate drugs with being plagued by the supernatural. “Hey kids! You want to do illegal substances? Be careful! You might get on the radar of interdimensional sadomasochistic demons or wandering ghosts hungry for life. Don’t believe me? Check out this horror novel and movie and see for yourself!”

Someone tell me I’m not the only person who’s thought that.

My AI art portrait of the King in Yellow. Couldn’t think of anything more perfect to showcase with this story’s release.

Oh Glory to the King in Yellow! My story “The Dedication of the High Priestess” has finally been released! And even better, it’s been released in an audio format, which is always very special!

Now, if you don’t know, “The Dedication of the High Priestess” is a short story I wrote back in late 2021 combining both my love of ballet with the story of the King in Yellow (see this incredible video by The Tale Foundry if you would like to know more about the character before going into the story itself). It follows a young ballerina who finds herself chosen for a special role by the King, and what happens when she becomes exposed to his influence.

I know I say this about a lot of my stories that are published lately, but I do feel this is some of my best work. I really feel that I got to capture the main character, Anastasia Hummel’s, despair and abrupt transition into adulthood very well while also telling a great horror story. Honestly, I haven’t been this excited for you all to read one of my stories in a while, that’s how much I love it and how good I think it is.

Not to mention that it’s being released on the Tales to Terrify podcast. As you can guess from the title, the Tales to Terrify podcast is dedicated to reading aloud terrifying stories submitted by writers like you and me and narrated by professional narrators. And boy, did they do an amazing job with “Dedication!” The narrator, Amy Paonessa (God, I hope I spelled that correctly), brought Anastasia to life perfectly and mirrored her emotions so well. I was impressed and amazed as I listened, unable to stop. And I’m sure you all feel the same way when you hear her narrate the tale.

I hope you take the time to listen to the story and then let me know what you think. Hell, maybe you’ll even spread it around so that other people can hear it and experience it for themselves. I would very much appreciate that, as would the good folks at Tales to Terrify.

Anyway, I’ll leave a link for you all below. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the story. Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be spreading the word about the story and thinking about how it came out right as lots of ballet companies around the world are putting on their annual Nutcracker productions.* Then I’ll drive out to see some family while also writing the script for the movie version in my head.**

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and be careful who you punch out during Black Friday sales today. They might come for you and do more than punch you back!

Tales to Terrify – Episode 565 – Rami Ungar

*Coincidence? Probably, but a cool coincidence.

**No, a movie version isn’t planned at this point, but that has never stopped me from dreaming. And I feel “Dedication” would make a great psychological horror film.

Has it really been six months since The Pure World Comes was released on paperback and ebook (and three months since it was released on audio book)? Maybe it’s because I moved into a condo and the entire month of October happened, and just a lot of other stuff occurred, but yeah. It’s been six months. And I have to say, it’s been nice to hear that people are enjoying it.

So, if you’re new here, then first off, hi! How are you? What’s your favorite horror novel and horror movie? If you don’t have one, better fix that soon.

Second off, The Pure World Comes, or TPWC, is a Gothic horror novel I wrote in 2020. It was first licensed on an app in 2021, and was officially released on May 10th, 2022. I often describe the novel as the love-child of Frankenstein and Crimson Peak, which is a pretty apt description. It follows Shirley Dobbins, a maid living in Victorian England who goes to work at the estate of the Baronet Hunting after the deaths of her previous employers. However, strange occurrences happen at the baronet’s estate, the Hunting Lodge, and some of them seem quite deadly. Does it have anything to do with the baronet’s research into a fringe science that might cure humanity’s imperfections? Shirley will find out, and her life will change along the way.

Did that catch your attention? It tends to do so. And thanks to that description, I’ve been lucky to get plenty of readers in the past six months. And some of them even leave reviews. 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,” Amazon

In Victorian England, Shirley Dobbins rises from lowly maid to competent scientist. The problem is, her tutor and employer is a mad scientist, and his mansion is haunted. I loved the cast Ungar put together, young to old, rich and poor, lower class and upper class, and most dramatically, kind hearted and evil. The mad scientist’s haunted mansion is a character, too, with its secret laboratory and portals and rats and a haunted toilet…Gothic horror fans will love The Pure World Comes. Ungar keeps getting better and better. He has become an auto-buy author for me.

Priscilla Bettis, author of “Dog Meat,” Goodreads

Really enjoyed this! Been a while since I’ve read a Gothic tale and it did not disappoint. I love the twists that it took!

Pax Panic, YouTuber, Goodreads

And on Audible, the audio book recently got its first couple of reviews. Here’s what they said:

Very interesting story that brings together the evolution of science and some history too. I especially liked the strong female heroine.

Arthur Siegal, Audible US

Great story. Loved the main character. The narrator does a great job, especially with the voices.

Iseult Murphy, author of “All of Me,” Audible UK

High praise. And all these reviews have led to TPWC to receive ratings of 4 and up on Amazon, Goodreads and Audible. It makes me really happy that so many people enjoyed the story and thought it was good. And that’s why, even as I work on my other projects, I’m working hard to get this book into as many hands as possible. I want people to enjoy this work of Gothic horror and tell as many others about it as they can, so those people can enjoy it too.

If you’re interested in reading The Pure World Comes, I’ll leave all the links I can down below. And if you like what you read, please leave a review. Not only do I leave reader feedback, but your thoughts help other readers figure out whether or not they should check out the book.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you’re having a good week, no matter what direction election week has gone. Until next time, good night, happy reading and pleasant nightmares.

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel, Google Play

In truth, I should have posted this update last night. That’s when I finished the latest chapter of the novel. But it was nearly eleven at night, and I had to go into the office this morning, so I put it off till now. Would have been written earlier in the day, but I had to de-stress from work and relieve my election related anxiety.

So, as many of you know, I’ve been working on-and-off on a new novel, a mummy novel tentatively called Crawler. The story was inspired by that god-awful movie with Tom Cruise that came out in 2017. Or maybe I should say it’s my attempt to show the world (and maybe Universal) how to write a decent mummy story. We’ll hopefully see someday whether or not I’m successful in that department.

Anyway, I’ve been writing four chapters at a time, then working on other, shorter projects that I can submit to other publishers. And if you’ve guessed that I’m going to post an update every four chapters, you’re completely right. In fact, the chapter I finished last night was Chapter 8. And if I’m being honest, these past four chapters have been among my favorites to work on so far.

Yeah, I know. How can I have favorites this early in the process? The novel is barely a quarter written! And you’d be right. But these chapters have some (what I think is) great content. Chapters 5 and 8 have some nice, slow character development and bonding that I really enjoyed writing. I really got to showcase the forming and established bonds between these characters, which is something I feel like I haven’t done enough of in my previous novels.

And Chapters 6 and 7 did plenty to establish the mystery and terror of the story. Chapter 7 in particular, I feel, was quite creepy and is a nice little opener for the horror that the readers will eventually get to experience. I’m trying to approach the idea of the mummy as a threat in a way that hasn’t been done before, so seeing the initial results with these initial chapters is encouraging to me and makes me think I’m onto something here.

And when I get back to this novel, I’ll be diving right back into the horror and seeing if my idea goes anywhere (no spoiler, but Chapter 9 is going to be something else). At the moment, the novel is currently 133 pages (regular MS Word pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font) and 37,575 words. It’s going to be one hell of a Stephen King doorstopper when it’s done. And hopefully just as terrifying. Or if not terrifying, hopefully just as interesting.

In the meantime, however, I’ll be working on a couple of (hopefully) shorter works, and finally editing that story where I put some neo-Nazis through the hell they deserve. All these stories have a common theme to them, so I think they might work well together if I wanted to create a new collection or something. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what I end up writing, if it’s any good and if I think a collection is the best way to go with these stories.

But first, I’ll need to write and edit them, of course! And I look forward to every moment of it.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I need to head to bed. So, until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and may God have mercy on all our souls! Trust me, there’s a good chance we’re going to need it.

About a year or two ago, this one title became kind of a sensation in one of Facebook groups. Everyone was talking about it, raving that it was the next best thing in indie horror. Combined with a striking cover and name, I couldn’t help but grow curious. Sadly, my TBR list is already a mile high, so I had trouble getting around to reading it. Thankfully, I get plenty of reading done thanks to audio books, so when I found out the audio book for this novel was finally released, I scooped it up for my October read.

So, after all that hype and fanfare, is Stolen Tongues worth the wait?

Set mostly in California and Colorado, Stolen Tongues follows a fictionalized version of the author himself, Felix Blackwell, as he and his fiancée Faye go up to her parents’ cabin in the mountains as a little engagement present. However, the lovers’ weekend is interrupted when they find a strange object hanging from the trees, and later that night start to hear odd voices coming from the surrounding woods. Soon, Faye starts to walk and talk in her sleep, and it becomes clear that something is influencing her in her dreams. And it will stop at nothing to have her.

So, the suspense throughout this novel is phenomenal. The prologue itself would make a terrifying short story on its own, and the early scenes, where we have no idea what sort of monster we’re dealing with or how it’s doing what it’s doing, are some of the tensest, most heart-pounding scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. It’s also quite unsettling to see Faye undergoing changes due to the influence of the creature. Her personality warps at times, as do her memories, and you feel the narrator’s anguish and concern as she becomes someone he doesn’t recognize.

I also like the reverence and respect shown to Native American beliefs, both the beliefs themselves and indigenous people’s attitudes towards their beliefs and sharing them with outsiders. As the novel’s monster draws heavily from Native American culture, it’s refreshing to see so much respect. Often, horror that draws on Native American folklore and ideas doesn’t always include the very peoples from whom the folklore and ideas derive from, and when they do, not always in the most respectful manner, so it’s a welcome change to see said folklore, as well as Native characters, portrayed with such care.

Actually, the author includes at the end of the book an essay he wrote on writing Native American characters and horror based on their folklore, which I would read after you’re done with the novel.

Sadly, the novel isn’t perfect. After the reveal of what the creature is, some of the tension and mystery is sacrificed. The author does try to keep things creepy, especially after the narrator has a close-up encounter with the monster, but it’s not always successful. I also thought the ending was rushed and a letdown, with far too much telling, not enough showing, and not a finale epic or scary enough to match the rest of the novel.

I know me griping about showing vs. telling when I only just got better at that this year is rich, but it’s still a legitimate problem.

Overall, while it’s not the terrifying ride of suspense and creepy atmosphere that I was led to believe I was going to get, Stolen Tongues by Felix Blackwell is still a decent and chilling novel. Those sections where the tensions really works make it worth the read all on its own. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m going to give it a straight 4. If you’re still looking for something spooky to read this October, this book might be a good choice. I’m certainly glad I finally got around to reading it.

One of the best ways to get into the Halloween spirit is to actually become a spirit. But if that’s not your jam, you can always read some scary fiction. And today, a story I didn’t think I could find a home for has been released in an awesome horror anthology!

The Ink Stains Dark Fiction Literary Anthology is an annual anthology of horror stories from a variety of authors looking to scare you silly. The publisher was on hiatus for a while as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, but it’s come back this year with a vengeance and with Volume 14. And speaking of vengeance, I have a story in the anthology that I’m quite proud of and that I didn’t think I could find a good home for.

“Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” AKA the dragon bat story, follows a young girl who gets wrapped up in a revenge plot invoking supernatural entities. Those entities are, you guessed it, giant bats known as dragon bats. The fact that this story even exists is amazing, because I just made a joke on social media once about releasing monsters called dragon bats, and my friend/fellow writer Iseult Murphy made some fan art of the creatures. This led me to want to write a story around them, and I combined them with an idea for how certain body parts can be used for occult rituals. The result was a story that I liked, but that I had difficulty finding a home for. Several times, I thought it might be impossible to find a home for the story.

Lo and behold, after about a year of submitting it around, Dark Alley Press bought the story for the anthology, and now it’s out today. Which just goes to show if you keep trying and believe in the story enough, you can find a home for it.

Anyway, I hope you’ll check out this story now that it’s released. Currently, Ink Stains vol. 14 is only available in paperback, but I’m sure an ebook edition will be available soon. Either way, there are a lot of great stories in this anthology besides my own, so I hope you’ll take advantage of spooky season to get a copy. And if you end up reading the anthology, be sure to post a review online. Anthologies often only survive this harsh book market by the reviews readers leave, so you’re helping the anthology, its publisher and the authors within every time you leave a review online.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to leave a link below. Enjoy, my Followers of Fear, and happy reading.

Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology volume 14 — Amazon


One more thing, my Followers of Fear: there’s a few days left of The Face of Horror contest’s Nightmare Round, and I’m currently at 8th place in my group. I need to be in at least fifth place by the time the round ends, so I need you to continue voting for me every day. With your help, I could survive the round and get a bit closer to the grand prize. Thanks again for your help on this. I appreciate it.

The Face of Horror — Rami Ungar

Well, I have a reading to prepare for. I’ll check in tomorrow when another anthology containing one of my stories releases. Until then, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and only 28 days till Halloween! Better get the decorations up, or the people living in your eyeballs will have something to say about it!