Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

So, for those of you not following my social media, particularly Instagram and Twitter, I got a home winemaking kit for my birthday last year. So far, I’ve made two batches of wine with it. The first is plum wine, while the second is pumpkin wine. Yes, you can make wine from pumpkins. You can make wine from all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and other materials you normally wouldn’t think of for winemaking. Anyway, I haven’t tried any of the wine yet. And winemaking, as it turns out, is a lot like writing fiction. I’ll explain both in a moment.

First, let me give you a quick rundown of the winemaking process. You basically take all the ingredients, including the crushed/chopped/quartered/otherwise cut up main ingredient (ex. grapes, plums, pumpkins, etc.), put them all into a big container with fermentation yeast and oxygen, and let it simmer for a week or so. During this time, the yeast breaks down sugars and releasing flavor from the main ingredient. This is primary fermentation. Then you put it in a smaller container with as little oxygen as possible, where it undergoes secondary fermentation. This can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, changing containers every couple of weeks until the wine is clear. At that point, you bottle it and let it age for a year before drinking.

This is the pumpkin wine I finished making earlier this week. Looks good, right?

That’s why I haven’t had any of the wine yet. The plum wine won’t be ready until January, and I just bottled the pumpkin wine earlier this week, so it won’t be ready till next Halloween. I hope it tastes good when I finally taste it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel very bad for anyone who drinks the wine with me.

Now, here’s a pop quiz: using multiple ingredients to create a single thing? Going through multiple processes to further refine it? Taking at least a year to work on before it’s ready for consumption? This does describe winemaking, but what else can it describe?

If you guessed fiction writing, congrats. You win a glass of wine from your own stores. But yeah, it does sound a lot like fiction writing. The ingredients for the wine are like the plot, the research, and the words; the primary fermentation is the rough draft; the secondary fermentation is the subsequent drafts where you clean up the story; and the year after it’s bottled is the time until publication, during which you may do further refining for the story until it’s out.

Plum wine, just before it begins primary fermentation, when it’s just a bunch of disparate elements in a bucket.

And, like writing, winemaking takes time and trial and error to get good at. Like I said, I haven’t tried the wine yet. I tried both the plum wine and the pumpkin wine before secondary fermentation, but at that stage the wine is tart and full of yeast and other matter floating around. It was alcoholic, yes, but was it good alcohol? No. Just like a first draft is technically a completed story, but it’s not something you want to immediately release into the world! I mean, all those errors and plot holes you might miss before giving out the story!

But getting back to the wine, I have no idea how either batch will taste once I open them up. They may be completed, but will they be any good? It might take years of trying and failing before I make a good batch of wine. And that’s kind of like writing, too. You can write a story and go over it many times, but you have to keep writing until you’re any good at it.

But maybe that’s why I enjoy making wine. I mean, yeah, I love wine, especially sweet wine, but I also like the process of it. I like taking my hands and using them to create something that people can enjoy with me. I like that it takes hard work, precision, trial and error, and your love of something to create it and bring it together. And I like the many possibilities it presents.

It’s like writing to me. Only I don’t intend to sell this stuff: that requires a license, and I’m not going to jump through hoops for that!

Also, I’m going to need a wine rack and more empty bottles before I make any more wine. Otherwise, I’m going to run out of space for it all in my condo!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on wine-making and writing with you guys. I’m going to do a little late night writing and then hit the hay. Good night, pleasant nightmares, and fifteen days and thirty-four minutes to Halloween. Anyone else vomiting spiders in excitement?

You know the drill: I released something, so I have to do a post about it the day of, one week after, two weeks after, one month after, two months after, three months after, six months after, one year after, and then every year on the release anniversary. Hopefully you don’t find that too annoying.

So, as you know, last week the press I’m part of, Cracked Skull Press, released That Which Cannot Be Undone, an anthology of horror stories written by Ohio horror authors, set in Ohio, and revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone.” This includes my spooky ghost story “Is Anyone There?,” which takes place at the Ohio State Reformatory and is inspired by something that happened to me at the prison a few years ago.

(I also had a short story, “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” published in Volume 14 of the Ink Stains Anthology series on the same day, and you can get a copy for that here. However, since I had a bigger hand in the creation and release of TWCBU, this post focuses on that.)

As you know, getting this anthology created started over a year ago with just a dream and some talk among my fellow Ohio writers and friends. And a year, a Kickstarter campaign, and a whole lot of work later, the book is out, and we at Cracked Skull Press are focused on making sure that the book’s release isn’t the last you hear of it. Rather, we’re focusing on making sure that this dream goes on, and leads to all sorts of wonderful things. That TWCBU becomes an anthology all horror fans want on their bookshelves!

And from the looks of it, we’re making good progress on doing just that. It’s only been a week, but at the time I’m writing this, TWCBU has amassed four reviews on Amazon and five on Goodreads for an average score of 4.7 out of 5 and 4.40 out of 5, respectively. Here are what people are saying:

What a great idea for a horror anthology. These eighteen stories, all set in Ohio, weave different aspects of the state into their terrifying narratives. From the cities of Cleveland and Columbus, to an old prison, a drowned town, an abandoned winery, and many other natural and notable locations, these stories place Ohio front and centre on the map of horror landscapes.

Iseult Murphy, author of All of Me, Goodreads

When I was in 5th grade I discovered horror fiction, and I’ve been a fan ever since (almost 40 years), and I’ve always had an affliction for short story horror fiction collections. Especially the kind that makes a 12 year old think its better to ‘hold it’ than make a break for the bathroom in the middle of the night – the risk of putting a foot on the floor at 3am is too great.

This is a (creepy) collection of short stories, all with ties to Ohio where I now reside, although many references will be well known outside the area.

Its any easy read, as most short story collections are, with a variety of writing styles, so each story feels fresh. Some creepier than others, but all entertaining by their own merit. As the days are getting shorter and the weather colder, this makes for a perfect bed time snack before turning out the light (be sure use the restroom first).

Wallflower9193, Amazon

So glad I had this creepy captivating horror anthology to read during the short breaks between bands at a huge metal/rock festival over the last four days.

This anthology written by multiple authors had stories ranging from ghosts to murder to horrific creatures. This dark and chilling collection was a joy to read.

Gillian Casso Speiche, Amazon

And these are just a few of the reviews we’ve received! Imagine, as the backers get their copies and more people buy copies, what they’re going to say about the anthology! I’m getting chills just thinking about it. Or is that the legion of undead that have escaped my washing machine freezing up my condo?

Anyway, this is a great anthology that will hopefully continue to receive notice and praise, and I’m doing all I can to ensure that that happens. So, if you would like to check out the anthology, I’ll include the links for both Amazon and Goodreads below. And if you do read the anthology, I ask that you leave a review somewhere. Amazon, Goodreads, BookTube, BookTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever! Just let us know what you think!. Reviews not only help us know what you’re thinking, but give readers an idea of what they’re about to get into, so it doubly helps us out!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be back soon, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’ll be at the Licking County Local Author Fair with Cracked Skull Press on Saturday, October 15th, 2022 from 10:30 AM – 2 PM. If you’re in Newark, Ohio this weekend, stop by the Downtown Library and say hi. You may even get a signed book from it all.

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 20 days till Halloween. Have you ingested pumpkin spice flavor yet? If not, better get to it!

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon, Goodreads

What do I even say about this? We’ve been discussing and planning this anthology since I was in a one-bedroom apartment, and then plans really got going when I was in a two-bedroom. Then there was a campaign, and things really started to happen, and then we made our funding goal, and then plans started to become concrete, and stories started to be submitted, and a cover was made, and…well, what do you say?

Well, probably not “let’s drink tonight like there’s no tomorrow!” Because there is a tomorrow, and it’s Yom Kippur, and I’m not going to drink and celebrate right before the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Especially when I have to fast.

Maybe this weekend.

But seriously, this is such a huge and momentous occasion. Since we Ohio horror writers formed our own chapter of the Horror Writers Association, we’ve talked about putting out an anthology that will show just how terrible and terrifying our chapter can be. However, it only became more than talk during the pandemic. And during the pandemic, there were so many moments when it could have just dissolved and nothing would have gone forward. Somehow, we managed to overcome all that, form a publishing company, have a Kickstarter campaign, and put out this book.

And what a book it is! An anthology of Ohio horror writers writing stories set in Ohio and revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone.” Featuring stories from Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, Gwendolyn Kriste, Megan Hart, Tim Waggoner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Tim McWhorter, Ray Pantle, David Day, Randall Drum, Matt Betts, Patricia Lillie, J. Thorn, Steven Saus, Marvin Brown, Weston Kincade, and…this one weird guy with a funny name. Rami Ungar. Anyone heard of him? He seems totally unknown to me.

Weird unknowns aside, That Which Cannot Be Undone is an amazing anthology, and there are so many people I would like to thank for helping us release us. To all the writers who submitted work to this anthology, thank you. You’re shining a spooky spotlight on our state and I can’t wait to see what people say about your stories. My fellow writers/co-founders of Cracked Skull Press, David Day, Ray Pantle and Randall Drum. You guys are great and are definitely getting cards in the mail this Halloween. Jess Landry, our tireless editor, thank you for helping us get these stories up to snuff. Greg Chapman, thank you for your awesome cover. We hope it leads to many more commissions for you. And to the many backers who funded this project, whether you be Followers of Fear or not, we can’t thank you enough. This project wouldn’t have happened without you, so thank you so much for supporting our dreams and making this anthology more than just talk and crazy ideas.

If you’re curious to read That Which Cannot Be Undone, I’ll include the link below. I can confirm that both the paperback and ebook are available now, so no problems there. And if you read TWCBU, be sure to leave a review online. Anthologies need reviews as much as they need sales to reach readers, so if you like what you’ve read, please let us know what you think and spread the word around.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m looking forward to hearing what you all say about the book, as well as getting my own copy. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and only 27 days till Halloween. Please wait to start massacring your enemies until at least three days to Halloween. Otherwise, you’ll mess up the holiday mojo, and we can’t have that, can we?

That Which Cannot Be Undone — Amazon

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!

So, I did not expect to be writing this post today. But so many things are happening that I need to get out a quick post about them all. So, without further ado, here are some updates and announcements about various projects, events, and other stuff that you might want to know about.

THAT WHICH CANNOT BE UNDONE

So, most of you are aware by now that I formed a publishing company with some of my Ohio horror writer friends so we could publish an anthology bringing an attention to Ohio horror and Ohio horror writers. That anthology, That Which Cannot Be Undone, was supposed to be released in less than two weeks on October 11th, 2022.

That’s no longer the case. Instead, the anthology will be released on October 4th, 2022, six days from now and a full week early! That’s right, this anthology will be coming out earlier than expected, which means you all get to read it that much sooner. I guess that’s what happens when things go smoothly and you end up being ready to release much sooner than expected.

Anyway, the ebook is already available to preorder, and the paperback will be available on release day Tuesday. You can use the link below to order a copy in the format of your choice. And don’t worry, those of you who got signed copies and whatnot from pledging during the Kickstarter campaign will get what you pledged. We’re working hard to make sure of that.

Can’t wait to hear what you think of the book. I can promise you, this anthology is going to be a scream.

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon

INK STAINS DARK FICTION ANTHOLOGY

Also releasing October 4th is the 14th volume of the Ink Stains Literary Horror Anthology. As you are probably aware, this anthology contains my story “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” AKA the dragon bat story. This is despite Hurricane Ian battering Florida, where the anthology’s publisher’s parent company is located. You just can’t stop good literature, can you?

Anyway, links aren’t available for that one yet, but as soon as they are, I’ll be sure to post them. And in the meantime, you can marvel over this awesome book cover. Now, this might just be my opinion, but I think the cover depicts America in a few years if we don’t get our asses together. In other words, it’s a prophecy of the future.

2022 EVENTS

So, there’s been another change in the events I’ll be attending during the last three months of 2022. And while it’s unlikely any of you will be in the area, I’m letting you all know in case you can somehow make it out. You know I love meeting my Followers of Fear in person when I can. When they’re not creepy stalkers, of course. *cough* Reginald! *cough*

Just kidding. There are no stalkers among you guys, let alone one named Reginald. At least I don’t think there are.

So, first off, the Bexley Public Library will be hosting A Night of Horror again on Monday, October 3rd, 2022 from 7 PM – 8 PM. Myself, as well as my fellow writers Anton Cancre and Sarah Hans, will be doing readings of our work and selling copies of our books to the people there. And, of course, we’ll be in costume. Stop by the library in Bexley, Ohio if you can for a spooky good time with some fellow horror enthusiasts.

Next, I’ll be at the Licking County Library on Saturday, October 15th for their Local Author Fair. If you’re looking for an opportunity to support Ohio authors of all kinds, including Ohio horror authors, this would be the place to do it. Be sure to stop by the Downtown Library in Newark, Ohio from 10:30 AM – 2 PM and see if I’m wearing my Halloween costume or some other wacky get-up. Hey, if it gets you interested in what I’m selling, then why not?

And finally, it looks like I’ll be wrapping up the year at the Columbus Witches’ Ball at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Saturday, November 5th from 6 PM – 11 PM. This is a huge event I heard about just a few months ago and I was extremely lucky to be able to get a spot. I’ll be selling books and reading Tarot cards there, so if you can make it, please stop by and say hi.

If anything changes, I’ll let you know. Though from the look of it, my schedule looks set through the end of the year. In which case, the next time you get an event update will be 2023. And trust me, there’s stuff planned for then.

THE FACE OF HORROR

As you know, Followers of Fear, I’m participating in the Face of Horror contest and am competing to win a walk-on role in an indie horror film and a photo shoot with Kane Hodder, among other things. The third round ends tomorrow night at 11 PM EST, and if I manage to stay in the Top 10 of my group, I’ll move onto the fourth round. For that to happen, I need you all to keep voting for me and keeping me high in the rankings. You can vote using the link below.

And thanks to all of you who have been continually voting for me. At one point this week, you even had me at 6th place! I was really touched by that and by your dedication to helping me win this thing. It means a lot to me.

THE FACE OF HORROR — RAMI UNGAR

OTHER NEWS

  • I’m back at work on my mummy novel Crawler (title pending). I’m currently going over the four chapters I’ve already written, and then I’ll start on the fifth. I’ll still take breaks every now and then to work on shorter stories, but Crawler has my attention for the time being.
  • Still working on editing Hannah and Other Stories. Yeah, I know, it’s been nearly a year since it was accepted for publication, but these things take time and you can’t rush a good product. But trust me, when this new collection is done, it’s going to be awesome! From haunted schools to budding serial killers to carnivorous horses, there’s plenty there for you to enjoy, so keep it in the back of your mind and be patient until its ready.
  • I’m shutting down this blog to start a new one where I investigate various suspicious deaths, supposedly cursed objects, and track down the only known score and dance notation of a ballet said to have summoned a demon at its only performance.

Kidding on that last one. But my God, whenever I threaten to change this blog or get rid of it, at least one person reading this gets scared that I’m serious. And isn’t scaring his readers what a horror writer does?

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m heading to bed now. But I look forward to sharing with you all the exciting stuff that’s bound to come up in the coming days, weeks and months. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and only 33 days till Halloween! I’m looking forward to putting out my decorations very, very soon.

The post that got me thinking about this subject.

So, if you weren’t aware, Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, starts tonight. This is the beginning of the High Holidays, or the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar, and there’s a couple of traditions around this time of year that religious Jews practice. A lot of those traditions have to do with forgiveness. Specifically, we go out of our way to forgive those who might have upset us in the past, ask for forgiveness ourselves, and maybe even gain God’s forgiveness for our weaknesses. Forgiving ourselves is also on the menu, but that’s something that’s up to us and can require more work than just what can be accomplished around a holiday.

I do these traditions myself, and about a week ago, I posted on my social media, asking for forgiveness and forgiving everyone else as well. However, I added as a sort of postscript that I might still add someone who’s seriously crossed a line with me to one of my stories, which would mean their portrayals would not be flattering, and that their deaths would probably be horrifying. As I said in the post, “Hey, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That’s life. Get used to it.”

This and other events got me thinking, and I realized that horror is not a genre where forgiveness is front and center a lot. In fact, it’s a genre where anger and vengeance is often a major factor! Think about it: most of the killers in slasher movies are motivated by rage and revenge. In a lot of ghost stories, the spirits are stuck on this mortal plane because they have some sort of baggage keeping them trapped here and they’re lashing out because of that baggage (this is especially true in Japanese horror movies like Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge). Carrie White in Carrie gets revenge on all her tormentors by setting the prom, the high school, and most of the town on fire, followed by killing her biggest bully and her mother, and Leland Gaunt in Needful Things takes advantage of people’s fears, grudges and relationships to cause all sorts of chaos.

In all of these stories and many others, forgiving anyone is almost nowhere to be seen. In fact, in many cases, even after the reason for the anger is gone, the anger and need for vengeance continues on. Perhaps Needful Things has some moments of self-forgiveness, where characters like Alan Pangborn, Polly Chalmers, and Norris Ridgewick realize they’ve been duped and/or done horrible things and are able to start on the path to forgiveness and redemption, but it’s not a large part of the story. In fact, those moments are overshadowed by the rest of the events of the story and the need to stop Gaunt.

Snake is not a novel I would associate with forgiveness.

The lack of forgiveness extends to my own work as well. And quite often, too. Snake is a novel about a serial killer motivated by both love and revenge against an organized crime family. “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” AKA the dragon bat story (releasing next month in the 14th volume of the Ink Stains horror anthology series, if you didn’t know), is driven by several characters’ needs for revenge and being unable to let go of the past (whether they are right or wrong in doing so, I’ll let you decide). And one or two stories I’m working on now may be motivated by characters’ need to release their anger on others, whether deserved or not.

Given all that, you might be wondering if any horror stories might include forgiveness, or if all of them are unforgiving. Actually, quite a few stories with religious themes include forgiveness. Swan Song by Robert MacCammon and Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky, both of which deal with Christian Apocalypse scenarios and the Devil, feature scenes where the protagonists forgive others, including the Devil himself, who usually can’t take being forgiven for their evil by a mere human and run off to hide in their own misery. And in the 2010 movie Devil, forgiveness plays a huge part in the resolution of the story and in one of the leads being able to avoid being dragged down to Hell.

This is a movie where forgiveness and sin are major themes for the horror.

All of these stories feature the Devil, but there are likely other stories with religious themes where forgiveness features but the Devil doesn’t. And perhaps there are stories where forgiveness is a big part of the story without religious themes as well. In fact, Cujo by Stephen King ends with the Trentons patching up their marriage and forgiving each other after the death of their son. But, at least in my experience, forgiveness tends to stay in horror stories with strong religious themes. The rest of the time, it seems to be “let out your wrath upon all those who have wronged you!”

But is that necessarily a bad thing? Even for the religiously inclined among us (including Jews around the High Holidays)?

I don’t think so. Whether we are misfits because we like horror, or we are already misfits and find a home in horror, both we and our genre of choice have often been maligned by the majority of society. Obviously, this can build some anger in us misfits, as we do nothing wrong but be ourselves. Where better to channel that anger than into our genre, where people often get what’s coming to them? It’s honestly rather therapeutic.

That’s why, even if I forgive someone, I’ll often find some way to write them into a story. It’s a healthy way to get rid of any lingering resentments and build something creative and meaningful while I’m at it. In fact, one could say I’m symbolically or metaphorically purging myself of hate and finding forgiveness for those who’ve wronged me, which I’m sure any rabbi would approve of, especially around the High Holidays.

As to whether I’ll ever write a story where forgiveness is a main topic…I’ll never say never. But it might be a while before we see me write something like that. Forgive me if you were hoping for one!


That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Sometimes I like getting my thoughts out like this, even if it leads to an essay-length blog post. In any case, I want to wish you all a Shana Tovah, or a Happy New Year. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life and blessed with a sweet year.

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 36 days till Halloween! Ask your doctor if sacrifices to the old gods is right for you!

That Which Cannot Be Undone. Cover by Greg Chapman. Hopefully to be in bookstores everywhere.

Run for the hills! Hide in your basements! Sound the trumpets of doom! That Which Cannot Be Undone is now set to preorder!

So, if you’re not aware, some of my Ohio horror writer friends and I started a press last year with the goal of releasing a horror anthology highlighting both Ohio horror and Ohio horror writers. “That Which Cannot Be Undone” is the result of that goal, as well as countless hours of meetings, hard work, rallying, writing, and, of course, the pledges of many supporters on Kickstarter.

And, as of this morning, the ebook is available for preorder on Amazon, with a release date of October 11th.

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

Beneath Ohio’s congenial midwestern facade lies a dark underbelly of urban legends, cursed sites, and unseen terrors. From a woman drawn to an underwater town haunted by its last resident to a killer desperately seeking to experience new life through the teeth of his victims, these eighteen stories all take place in the Buckeye State, some drawn from already-known accounts of strangeness and infamous settings, others completely the author’s invention.

Edited by Bram Stoker Award-winner Jess Landry, That Which Cannot Be Undone features works from new and established voices in horror, including Bram Stoker Award-winners Gary A. Braunbeck, Tim Waggoner, Lucy A. Snyder, Gwendolyn Kiste, and Kealan Patrick Burke, and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Megan Hart.

it also includes a story by this guy named…Rami Ungar. Hmmm, I don’t know him. Do you? And is he any good?

Jokes aside, I can’t tell you how excited we are for everyone to read this anthology. It was one thing just to imagine this book coming out, especially as we were looking for ways to make the pandemic go by faster. But then talk turned into research, research turned into decisions, decisions turned into, plans turned into starting a business, the business made more plans, those plans led to the cooperation of several writers, an editor, and a Kickstarter campaign! The Kickstarter campaign surpassed its goal, authors starting submitting their stories, we hired an amazing cover artist who produced a terrifying cover, our editor Jess Landry helped us polish up our stories, and now we have the book ready to release! And very soon, many of you will be reading it.

Down below is the link to preorder the ebook (sadly, Amazon makes it so we can’t offer a preorder for the paperback just yet). I hope you’ll preorder a copy or purchase it when it’s out. And for those of you whose pledges include a copy or two of the book, don’t worry; we’re working hard to ensure you get your copies as soon as possible.

Either way, we hope you’ll read the anthology, enjoy it, and leave a review to let us know what you thought. Reviews are huge boosts for these books and help them find new readers, so we appreciate every review left for us.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I can tell you, October is going to be an exciting month, and not just for all the usual reasons. I look forward to celebrating all the events that are to come.

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 42 days till Halloween!

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon

Well, I have to start this post off with some bad news: I will not be at the Ohio Author Spotlight Event being held by the Pickerington Public Library in Pickerington, Ohio. I’ll get into why in a bit. Stick around, because you’ll want to read on, even if you don’t live anywhere near Ohio.

The good news is, the Bexley Public Library will be hosting another Night of Horror with me and my fellow members of the Ohio chapter of the Horror Writers Association, or HWA Ohio. We’ll be doing readings and selling books at the Bexley Public Library in Bexley, Ohio on Monday, October 3rd from 7-8 PM. The featured authors’ list is still being finalized, but I’ll be there, you can count on that.

And on October 15th, I’ll be at the Licking County Public Library for their Local Author Festival. The fair will be from 10:30 AM to 2 PM at the Licking County Public Library in Newark, Ohio. This year, the library is doing quite a bit to draw in bigger crowds than last year, so hopefully plenty of people show up.

If any of you are in Ohio during those dates, please stop by to say hello. I would be happy to see you, provided you’re not a murderous stalker or just any form of stalker, and I would gladly sign a book for you. And if any other events pop up, I will let you know.

And while this is not an event, you all know that I’m competing in the Face of Horror contest. The first round of the contest ends Friday, September 15th, at which point the Top 20 of each group will move onto the next round. I don’t expect to win, though I would love to meet Kane Hodder and have a walk-on role in an indie horror movie, among other things. But I would like to make it to the next round, and I need your help to do that. Every day, you get one free vote, so please cast your votes using the link below. Or you can buy extra votes (portion of proceeds goes to charity).

Whatever you choose, thank you for your support these past several days. Because you keep coming back and casting your votes, I’ve been able to stay in the rankings in my group and might just make it to the next round. I hope you’ll continue to support me as I work hard and try to make the most of this opportunity for my writing career. Who knows? I may even win.

Face of Horror — Rami Ungar

Finally, why am I not going to the Pickerington Public Library this weekend? Well, that’s because Mystics and Marvels this past weekend was a huge success! I sold all but two copies of The Pure World Comes, which is more than I’ve ever sold at any other event, and earned more than at any other convention I’ve been to. My fellow authors at the HWA Ohio table also sold plenty of books, which definitely made all the work this past weekend worth it. We’ve already put a deposit down on a booth for next year, and we’re planning on bringing more authors with us next year so we all can reach even more readers.

This and other recent events make me think that, even though I’m so busy lately that I often don’t have time to write, that I’m on the path I’m meant to be on right now. It’s like the universe or God or whatever is moving me towards some new chapter of my writing career, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in that chapter. Maybe more writing time? One can only hope.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll end this by posting photos from Mystics and Marvels. I’ll probably be back soon, so keep an eye out. And in the meantime, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 47 days till Halloween!

From left to right: Matt Betts, me, Sarah Hans, and Anton Cancre
This is my new author photo.
Definitely one of the most elaborate costumes I saw at the fair, if not the most elaborate: the Skull Bear!
No joke, that is a genuine wolf! Not a dark furred German Shepherd, a real wolf!
A medium made this portrait for me using pastels. Apparently he’s one of my spirit guides, and an English soldier from the Battle of Agincourt who might be my ancestor.
Another great costume, but it was difficult to communicate with this person due to the mask.
You would not believe what it took to get that photo taken.

I got to know Heather Miller earlier this year, and I saw from the get-go that she was passionate about horror. In fact, she’s become well-known in the horror community as a horror reader and reviewer, to the point where she gets through multiple books a year and posts her thoughts on them. I considered it a true honor when she gave The Pure World Comes a four-star review.

I also learned that Heather is a writer as well, and that she had a book coming out. I not only volunteered to be an early reader (my review will be out later this month), but to interview her for my blog. So, sitting with me here today to discuss her upcoming collection, Tales My Grandmother Told Me, is Heather Miller.

Rami Ungar: Welcome to the blog, Heather. Tell us about Tales My Grandmother Told Me and some of the stories inside.

Heather Miller: Tales is a collection based on old stories and songs my grandmother used to tell and sing.  These stories are family heirlooms in a way, part of our oral history. In the book you’ll find stories of both supernatural and entirely man-made horror, you’ll find stories which are based on real events and stories which are clearly made up.  You might even find a bit of humor.

RU: What was the impetus for this collection? And was it difficult to turn those tales and songs into stories?

HM: I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to take Grandma’s stories and share them with the world.  I chose to do this collection at this particular time because my mother was in failing health and I wanted her to see our family’s stories go out into the world before she died.  Unfortunately, she passed away recently and never got to see the final copy, but she read the stories as I wrote them and knew the book was coming out.

I really didn’t find it difficult to turn the old tales into stories.  These are stories which have been percolating in my brain since childhood, so when I sat down to write, they just flowed out of me.  Some were certainly easier than others.  One in particular gave me trouble as it was one I remembered only vaguely.  But honestly, I had a lot of fun taking the old tales and twisting them around a bit, adding to them, making them my own while still honoring the old storytelling tradition of my grandmother.

RU: Did you have a particular audience in mind when you wrote the collection? Were you hoping to pass these stories to your children like your grandmother passed them onto you?

HM: The great thing about this collection is that these stories are unnerving enough to give an adult the creeps, but also perfectly suitable for older children to read.  There’s nothing in this book (aside from horror) that would be considered too “adult” for kids.  While this is certainly not a children’s book, or even Young Adult, I think these are easily stories that adults could read with their kids, if those kids like a good scare.

RU: What are some other works you’ve written? And do you have anything else coming out?

HM: I have a novella out, called Knock Knock.  It’s a modern Gothic ghost story.  Also I have stories coming out in a couple of anthologies later this year: my story “The Far Field” is part of the book These Lingering Shadows (Last Waltz Press), and my story “Baba Yaga in Repose” is in the book Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga (Black Spot Books).

RU: In addition to writing horror, you also regularly read and review horror from a variety of authors. In fact, you’ve gained a reputation as a discerning horror reviewer. How does that make you feel? Is that something you set out to do?

HM: Honestly, I just like to talk about books.  I never dreamed when I first started my Bookstagram account that just a couple of years later, publishers would be sending me books like crazy and authors would wait anxiously to hear what I had to say about their writing.  It feels good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also sort of weird to me still.  I’m just a girl who likes to read, likes to be scared, and likes to tell other people when I find a good book.  I also have come to love the literary horror community.  They are the most amazing people.

RU: What is it about horror that draws you in? And are there any particular kinds of horror stories or genres that you gravitate to the most?

HM: I’ve always loved horror.  Even as a small child, reading picture books, I was drawn to horror elements.  It could be June and I’d still go straight to the Halloween books section when we visited the library.  If a book had witches or ghosts or creepy monsters, I wanted it.  As I grew older, I discovered adult horror and delved right in.  I think I like horror because it is such an escape.  It’s fantastical because these things will never really happen but it’s so exciting to lose yourself in that world of suspended disbelief for a while.  And who wouldn’t want to live in a world where ghosts and witches and vampires are real?

I will read almost any kind of horror as long as it’s well-written, but my deepest love will always be for the old-fashioned kind of horror, the Gothics (original and modern).  A heroine finding her inner strength while battling evil in a haunted house will never get old to me.

RU: I hear that. Now, what is some advice you would give to other authors, regardless of background or experience?

Tales My Grandmother Told Me, out September 27th.

HM: Good readers make good writers.  Read like crazy.

Don’t be afraid to write what makes you happy.  You don’t have to write a certain way or in a certain sub-genre (or NOT write a certain way or avoid a certain sub-genre) just because it’s the current trend. Whatever you write, if well-written, will find it’s audience.

Find your voice.  Find your brand.  Know yourself and let that bleed into your work.

Kill your darlings but pay your editors.

RU: All good pieces of advice. Finally, if you were stuck on a desert island for a little while and could only bring three books with you, which books would they be?

HM: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and The Collected Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

RU: Excellent choices. Well, thank you for joining me on the blog, Heather. Good luck with the release of Tales My Grandmother Told Me.

If you would like to check out Tales My Grandmother Told Me, you can find it available for preorder from most retailers and will release September 27th. And if you would like to connect/learn more about Heather Miller, you can find her on her website, Heather Miller Horror, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you’ll check out Tales My Grandmother Told Me once it releases (as well as my review once it’s out). Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 58 days till Halloween!

If you don’t know some of the acronyms I use on this blog, you’re probably going, “What the heck is this post about?” Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging.

So, as many of you know, some of my fellow Ohio horror writers and I formed a small press to publish an anthology written by Ohio horror writers. This anthology is called That Which Cannot Be Undone, or, TWCBU, and is made up of some of the best horror writers in Ohio, including Megan Hart, Tim Waggoner, Gary Braunbeck, Kealan Patrick Burke, Lucy Snyder, and Gwendolyn Kiste.

Oh, and this dude named Rami Ungar is part of the anthology. Have you heard of him? I think he’s written a few things.

I’m pleased to announce that not only are all the stories finalized and approved for publication, but we have finalized the cover and are revealing it to the world. So, without further ado, let us not undo reverse course and reveal our new cover!

What do you think? The cover was designed by Greg Chapman, an Australian horror writer and artist (you can find his work on his website here), and we love what he’s done here. It kind of reminds me of the movie Oculus, and it just gives you the shivers! I think we’ll get plenty of readers just from the cover alone.

As for when it comes out, we’re currently on track for an October 2022 release. Once we’re ready to release, we’ll be sure to let everyone and their cousin know so you can get a copy if you so desire. And I hope you do. We put a lot of work into showing just how scary Ohio horror writers can be, and I bet once you read it, you’ll gain an interest in the writers from our state. An interest that cannot be undone.

Yes, I went there. Can you blame me?

On another note, the audio book for The Pure World Comes, or TPWC, was just released on Audible. If you’re not aware, this is my Gothic horror novel about a maid in Victorian England who goes to work for a mad scientist. Think Frankenstein and Crimson Peak had a baby together. The audio book came out last week, but because Audible is owned by Amazon and they dislike it when you self-publish using a service other than one they own, they held it for a week. But now it’s out, so I’m letting everyone know in case they were waiting.

I hope you take a listen to TPWC and if you do, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me as a writer, as well as helping other readers/listeners.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll check in again soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

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