Posts Tagged ‘2016’

Well, I’m doing that thing where authors look at the year before and be hopeful about the year to come. And I have to say, 2016 was not the easiest year to deal with. Even the people who called 2015 shitty say 2016 was worse. Many people we cared about, from celebrities to icons to just ordinary loved ones, died. The world was rocked by a number of incidents, big and small, that showed that hate and prejudice is still alive and well in many countries one would consider tolerant (let alone the openly-intolerant countries). Groups like ISIS, and events like Brexit and the American presidential election left people the world over confused and terrified about the future. Illnesses and conflicts and starvation raged, and people suffered.

And movies that were supposed to be great, like Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Ghostbusters, either were terrible or didn’t make the money they should’ve (stuff like that bums me out).

Yeah, this year has been tough. But there have been some amazing things, good things, that have happened this year. We have comedians like Trevor Noah and Jon Oliver and Samantha Bee, who are using their platforms to educate people about existing issues and even find ways to do some good. Thousands of refugees from war-torn Syria and other areas have found homes in more stable countries, and have started rebuilding their lives. Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson are using their fame to fight for issues like feminism and equal pay. Hollywood is putting out more movies and TV shows that reflect their viewers, including black-ish, Speechless, and the Fast & Furious movies, to name a few, and while there are still missteps here and there, this shows that the makers of our media care about our opinions. And we nearly had our first female president! It didn’t happen, and it would’ve been cool if it did, but it still shows how far this country has come in terms of women’s rights. And the world got Tape Face from America’s Got Talent. I swear, I could watch his video every day, he’s so clever with the visual gags!

But wait, there’s more! This from YouTube and Vine star Thomas Saunders on reasons to smile:

God, that’s a lot of good, isn’t it? I wish he would’ve added Lucifer on that TV show listing though. That show makes my day!

On a more personal level, 2016 actually went pretty well for me. Yeah, all the nasty stuff I mentioned up above bummed me out, but there were many good things this past year. For one, my mother got married to her partner of several years, which was made possible by the 2015 Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage nationwide. That was a blast, and something I was glad to see finally pass. My mother and stepmother are so happy together, and I’m glad they get to be together in the eyes of the law as well.

Around that time, I got offered a couple of jobs/internships! One of them was here in Columbus, and it translated into a full position that I’m still working at right now. It’s a great job, where I’m promoting diversity in my organization with an office full of good people, and getting great pay and benefits while I do it.

In addition, my job has allowed me to move out of my dad’s house and into my own apartment, and even to buy new furniture and a new laptop. I’m paying all my bills on time and still have money to save, which is huge for me! And if things continue to go as they are, who knows? I could even get a cat or save up for a dream vacation to the UK and Ireland! I would love for those to happen.

My sciatica has improved! Yes, for those of you who don’t know, I have sciatica, a condition in which a nerve in the back is squished by spinal discs, causing severe pain in one leg and the lower back. I’ve had this since some time around graduation, but over the summer and through fall and beginning of winter, I started doing some new exercises and other stuff to improve my condition. At the time I’m writing this, I feel only mild discomfort, and sometimes not even that. By next summer, I could be completely cured of it!

This got published!

This got published!

But that’s not all. I released a new book, Video Rage, back in June, and it’s finally started to get some reviews! In addition, nearly all of my books have received new reviews this yer, and more people are discovering them every day. Heck, even my coworkers are reading my books! And on the social media side of things, my blog has grown, accruing nearly 900 subscribers, and passing the five-thousand like milestone. And pretty soon, I’ll be passing the fifty-thousand views milestones. One of my posts actually went kind of viral, garnering over nine-hundred views in the first five weeks of being published, and receiving more views since then.

But there’s more! I started the final book in the Reborn City series, and as of the most recent chapter, I’m a sixth of the way through the book! I could have it released sometime next year! I’ve also written several short stories, and I’ve had some great ideas, both for stories and for strategies to make sure more people discover and read my books. I can’t wait to put some of these to work.

Look folks, this has been a tough year. But for everything I’ve said above, and stuff I haven’t said, it’s been a pretty good one too. And while a lot about 2017 looks scary, we can do a lot to make it a great year. It’ll take some work, but we can make 2017 suck less than 2016 did (I can even post about some of my ideas on how to do just that in another post if you guys want), and to achieve all that we ream.

So will I make a thousand followers? Will I publish another novel and some short stories? Will I get an agent or a contract with a publishing company? Will I get a cat or that vacation? Will we cure AIDS, or improve education, or save the environment? Will the new American president be good at his job? I can’t say with any certainty. But it’s what I hope for. And if not, I’ll do all I can to improve that situation.

Happy New Year, my Followers of Fear. May 2017 bless you and leave you with plenty of reason to smile.

Well, we’re officially two weeks into 2016. Would you say your year so far is a good one or does it just suck?

Anyway, today is the last day of the 2016 New Year’s Sale, which means you guys have until late tonight to pick up a copy of any of my books, e-book or paperback, for a lower price than you would the rest of the year. And if you’re looking for something new and exciting to read this January, this is a good opportunity to see if anything I’ve written interests you, so why not go check it out and see what’s there?

Also, if you do decide to get one of my stories and read them, please make sure to write a review letting me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love feedback from readers.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably be back soon with more, possibly before tomorrow (it’ll be Friday, so you know what that means). Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

Snake

How far will you go for love and revenge? When a young man’s girlfriend is kidnapped by the powerful Camerlengo Family, he becomes the Snake, a serial killer who takes his methods from the worst of the Russian mafia. Tracking down members of the Camerlengo Family one by one for clues, the Snake will go to any lengths to see the love of his life again…even if it means becoming a worse monster than any of the monsters he is hunting.

Available from AmazonCreatespace and Smashwords

 

Reborn City

Zahara Bakur is a Muslim teenager recently moved into the gambling town of Reborn City. After her parents are killed by gang violence, Zahara is forced to join the Hydras, an interracial gang whose leaders have supernatural abilities. As the violence in Reborn City escalates and Zahara becomes closer to the Hydras, including the quiet but stern Rip, she finds herself drawn into a dark conspiracy involving the origins of the leaders and the shadowy corporation that rules over Reborn City.

Available on Amazon, Createspace, and Smashwords

 

The Quiet Game: Five Tales To Chill Your Bones

In his publishing debut, Rami Ungar brings us five terrifying stories of darkness in magic. You can experience the strange visions of a man battling sex addiction in “Addict”. Or feel the wrath of an enraged dybbuk in “Samson Weiss’s Curse”. Face your fears in Gene Adkin’s Murder House in “I’m Going To Be The Next James Bond” and then journey with a young autistic “In The Lady Ogre’s Den”. But most of all, prepare to play the most insidious game of all: The Quiet Game.

Now Available on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Yesterday I had an appointment on Ohio State’s campus. This was my first time back on campus since I’d come back from Germany, so I decided to leave the house early and hang around on campus for a few hours before my appointment. Heck, college was one of the best times of my life (hopefully there will be many more to come), and I wanted to revisit the places and people that made that all possible.

You know the first thing that hit me when I got to campus? How much construction can make getting from point A to point B a bloody maze. Not kidding, I’d actually forgot that. I got off the bus near the north residential district of campus, and I thought it would be a quick matter of walking down the street. Little did I would have to take about three different detours due to all the construction going on in that district. And all to get to my old workplace!

The second thing I forgot was walking around campus in below-freezing weather. You’d think I’d remember that–I was a student for four years and I’ve lived in Ohio for most of my life–but no, I was still shocked by how freaking cold I was and I really hated myself for forgetting my scarf. The cold is something you can taste, a dry taste that takes the air out of your lungs and skins your throat raw. Even a few minutes is bad enough that once you get inside, you need a few minutes of doing absolutely nothing so as to regain your body warmth without losing any more energy.

But besides a horrible maze of buildings and cold that feels like it’s ripping off your skin, being back on campus was a great experience. I got to see my old coworkers and had about the same conversation twenty times, telling people about Germany and what was going on in my life. Everyone at work agreed that the Student Financial Aid office was quieter without me, and that they missed my personality.

After that I visited a few of my old professors (it was the first day of classes at OSU, so nearly all the teachers I wanted to see were around). It was great running into them again. In one case I almost literally ran into a professor: on the way to see him, I came out of the stairwell, turn the corner, and nearly walk into him as he’s going to the bathroom. He was like, “Whoa!” and then he said, “Take a seat in my office, I’ll be right there.” We had a nice conversation after he got back.

Another professor I got to see was the teacher who taught two of my classes, including my science fiction literature class (yes, I took that and a History of Witchcraft course. Be jealous of me!). I gave her a book of early twentieth century sci-fi stories I picked up in Germany as a gift, figuring she’d get way more out of it than I did even if she was retiring at the end of the semester. She also told me an interesting story: during the previous semester, she was teaching about the “7 Beauties of Science Fiction”, and how there is a similar list for fantasy. Apparently one student did a Google search online about this, and found “an author who did posts on the beauties of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. And his name’s Rami Ungar.” My teacher was like, “I know him!” So like a ghost, I still haunt the school.

Walking on campus was an interesting experience, to say the least. While I’d been a student, I’d felt like a member of a giant mass of something big. And now, I’m an alumnus. Strangely, I felt a little weird walking among all those students. I was one of them, but I wasn’t. It was like being a big kid on a playground filled with younger children: you used to be part of that crowd, but now it’s a little weird, though I was probably the only one who saw it that way. I kept expecting someone to come up and say to me, “You’re no longer one of us.” It definitely was a new experience for me, but I think by the end of things I got a little used to it.

After that, lunch, and my appointment, I went to visit OSU Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus that I’d frequented at least once a week nearly every week for my undergraduate career, and it had barely changed since I left. Sure, there were a few new things here and there, but on the whole most of it stayed the same. Hillel’s like that, in a weird way: no matter the changing faces, it kind of stays static, as if to let people know that no matter how much time flies, OSU Hillel’s there for them.

Well, it certainly was a wonderful and interesting day for me. A real trip down memory lane, and I was glad to come back. It made me realize how much I missed OSU, not unlike how I miss Germany. And the good thing is, despite my weird feelings of being “too big” for campus, I felt like I belonged there, like this was still a home for me. I guess once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye, right? Like the blogging community or your circle of fellow authors, you know that even after a long absence you’ll be accepted back and given all the friendship and help you could possibly need. And I absolutely love that about Ohio State and its people.

And I’ll be back on campus tomorrow for another appointment. Given my impressions from yesterday, I’m likely to have just as good a time as yesterday. Until then, I’ve got things to do, so I’ll wrap it up here. Have a good day, my Followers of Fear.

Oh, and there’s only a few days left for the 2016 New Year’s Sale. You have till Thursday to get to Amazon, Createspace, or Smashwords to get a copy of any of my books at a great price. Trust me, this is not an opportunity you’ll want to miss.

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday, my weekly ritual trying to create a blogging trend (and apparently I’m making some success).

Now, here are the rules for the people who’ve never seen or done #FirstLineFriday before:

  • Write a blog post on your own blog titled “#FirstLineFriday”, hashtag and all.
  • Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  • Post the first one or two lines of a potential work, a work-in-progress, or a completed or published short story.
  • Ask your readers for feedback.

So, this week’s entry is from an idea I had for a sequel to Rose, the novel I wrote as my thesis project during my last year of college (and which I hope to do another draft of once I finish the second draft of Laura Horn). Now, I never planned to do a sequel to Rose, though I did try to leave open the possibility of a sequel while writing the story. The other morning, however, I woke up and the idea for a sequel just formed in my head. Immediately I had characters, situations, the conflict, the setting. All of it just–pardon the pun–sprouted in my head (read the summary for Rose if you don’t get the joke). I got out of bed, wrote down the basics in my little notebook, and then when I got on the computer later I wrote it down on my Ideas list. Now I’m turning it into a #FirstLineFriday entry. That’s progress!

Anyway, I don’t know when I’ll get around to writing a sequel to Rose–it would mostly depend on my mood, how busy I am, and any other projects calling to me to be written, among other things–but the idea is there if I want to pursue it. For now though, here’s what I imagine the first two lines would be:

The door of the house was wide open, despite the cold weather outside and the big “Foreclosed” sign in the yard. I should’ve been immediately suspicious, but I was too tired, cold, and hungry to care.

Thoughts? Errors? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Tomorrow night I’m planning on heading to the movies and seeing the new horror movie “The Forest”, so expect a review of that either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Until then, have a pleasant weekend, and make sure to check out the 2016 New Year’s Sale while there’s still time.

Oh wait, one last thing. This #FirstLineFriday, I’m doing something different. This time, I’m tagging someone and making them do #FirstLineFriday too. And this week, I’m tagging…YOU! Yes, you! You’re tagged, so either this week or next week, do a #FirstLineFriday blog post. Got it? Good! I can’t wait to see what you create.

It’s January 7th, which means we’re halfway through the big sale. So if you’re looking for a new book for the new solar cycle, you like a good horror or science fiction story, and you sometimes enjoy supporting independent authors, this might be the opportunity for you. So head to Amazon, Createspace, or Smashwords, and you can get your new book (paperback or electronic, whichever you prefer), and enjoy.

Oh, and if you do get one of my new books, please make sure to let me know what you think when you’ve finished reading it. I enjoy your feedback, and reviews are always nice to receive for an author. So please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Hmm…am I forgetting anything? Probably, but I can’t remember what is. In any case, I’ll see you tomorrow, my Followers of Fear. After all, it’ll be Friday, and you know what that means.

The Quiet Game

In his publishing debut, Rami Ungar brings us five terrifying stories of darkness in magic. You can experience the strange visions of a man battling sex addiction in “Addict”. Or feel the wrath of an enraged dybbuk in “Samson Weiss’s Curse”. Face your fears in Gene Adkin’s Murder House in “I’m Going To Be The Next James Bond” and then journey with a young autistic “In The Lady Ogre’s Den”. But most of all, prepare to play the most insidious game of all: The Quiet Game.

Now Available on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

 

Reborn City

Zahara Bakur is a Muslim teenager recently moved into the gambling town of Reborn City. After her parents are killed by gang violence, Zahara is forced to join the Hydras, an interracial gang whose leaders have supernatural abilities. As the violence in Reborn City escalates and Zahara becomes closer to the Hydras, including the quiet but stern Rip, she finds herself drawn into a dark conspiracy involving the origins of the leaders and the shadowy corporation that rules over Reborn City.

Available on Amazon, Createspace, and Smashwords

 

Snake

How far will you go for love and revenge? When a young man’s girlfriend is kidnapped by the powerful Camerlengo Family, he becomes the Snake, a serial killer who takes his methods from the worst of the Russian mafia. Tracking down members of the Camerlengo Family one by one for clues, the Snake will go to any lengths to see the love of his life again…even if it means becoming a worse monster than any of the monsters he is hunting.

Available from AmazonCreatespace and Smashwords

Around this time of year, it’s customary for many bloggers to do a post reflecting on the last year and their hopes for the coming year. I decided to wait a few days to do mine because I posted a lot of stuff during the first couple of days of the New Year, and I didn’t want you guys to get sick of me (especially since a lot of what I posted was advertisement). And I won’t be doing the sort of post with the odd comparisons to famous venues and the listing stats, because I dislike doing those sorts of posts. Instead, I think I’ll just do what writers and bloggers do best, and write.

So, how was 2015? Well, I was surprised by how many people found 2015 to be a really bad year for them. So many people on Facebook and in daily conversation went so far to call 2015 “shitty”. Even my sister, who accomplished so much this past year, including getting her driver’s license and car and becoming a certified professional baker (so proud of her on that). This is especially odd when you think about how these people don’t live in war zones or aren’t homeless or anything, but then again we can’t always be expected to compare ourselves to those who have it worse, can we?

Personally, I feel that 2015 was a bit of a roller coaster with all sorts of ups and downs. I had a pretty mellow final semester with only three classes and a thesis to do, but at the same time I had a job search that sometimes felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. During graduation and the two-three weeks surrounding it, I felt like the prom queen, with all the attention on me, showering praise and good wishes. Not too long afterward I got to go see some of my favorite metal bands in concert, and got the chance to intern in Germany. Of course, the trip to Germany got delayed, and one set of tickets I couldn’t fully refund, so that was money wasted.

Life’s a rollercoaster, is it not?

When I finally did get to Germany, it was a great experience. I learned a lot working with the US Army, explored as much of Germany as I could in the four months I was there, and made some memories and friendships that I hope will stay with me for a long time. On the other hand, I could get very tired, and if things didn’t go as planned, that stressed me out. I didn’t get to stay, and even when you’re making a good living and have a place to stay on base, which is much cheaper than getting your own apartment, living abroad is expensive. I came back to the States with about the same amount of money in my bank account as when I left.

And finally, when I got back home, I found a lot a lot of people wanting to know how I did in Germany and what it was like. I also got a lot of support as I started up the job search again, and I finished editing one novel and made significant progress on another. And I even got a narrator for that audio book for Reborn City I’ve been trying to get off the ground! On the other hand…still jobless for the moment, and until I have some income, I can’t get an editor to look at Video Rage for one final touch-up before publication.

All in all, I felt this year reflected life in general. There are things that don’t always go your way and you could live without, but there are plenty of good things to even it out, and in the end you wouldn’t give up the experiences you’ve had for the world. That’s certainly been my experience. While I would’ve loved to not have those delays with Germany and still have some more money in my bank account, and I had hoped to be employed by this point, I am very happy that I’ve had the experiences and learned the lessons that I did this year.

As for this coming year…well, I have my hopes. I want to get a job, obviously, and without getting into specifics, I’ve had some luck with that, thanks in part to the help I’ve gotten from numerous sources. I want to publish at least one book this year, though I’m aiming for two, plus some short stories here and there. And I would definitely like to move out into my own place (preferably a one-bedroom apartment that allows pets, like cute little kitty cats).

Oh, and I would definitely like to finish editing a few more stories, make some more progress on my new collection of short stories Teenage Wasteland, and get that audio book of Reborn City released.

Will any of this happen? I can’t say, because the future is not certain. However, a lot of stuff is very likely, including the stuff listed above. And I’m hoping that along with those, a lot of other stuff happens this year. While I had a pretty good 2015, I know that on a global scale things were, to say the least, messed up. Gun violence, terrorism, refugees not given the treatment they deserve, continued abuse of the environment. There was plenty of good–gay marriage is now legal all throughout the nation, thank God–but I feel we need to see a lot more of that sort of good to outweigh the bad. Already I’ve seen what I feel is good action from the President, but it’s going to take a lot more than that before I’m satisfied.

Cheers to a fresh start.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough for one evening. I’ll finish off with a reminder that all of my books are on sale through January 14th from Amazon, Createspace, and Smashwords, and that I hope we all accomplish the goals we set ourselves this year. And I guess that includes new year’s resolutions, though I know those rarely last long. Oh well, good luck with those too I guess.

Happy 2016, my Followers of Fear!

If you haven’t read my last post yet, then allow me to shout “Happy New Year!” And wouldn’t you know it, it’s also Friday. You know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday!

Now, for those of you who don’t know the rules of #FirstLineFriday, let me break them down for you:

  • Write up a blog post titled “#FirstLineFriday”, hashtag and all.
  • Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  • Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, story-in-progress, or completed or published work.
  • Ask your reader for feedback.

Now although it’s New Year’s Day, I don’t have a New Year’s edition for this post, unfortunately. I actually couldn’t think of any of my stories, written or otherwise, that take place on New Year’s (there may be one, but I have a lot of story ideas, and I’m not going to go trolling through them just to see when they take place. That would take too long). So instead, I’m just going to post something that I think would be interesting to read if it started one of my stories. Enjoy:

He looked across the tracks and saw the girl in the dark pink dress. And he saw the thing he knew would be standing right behind her.

Thoughts? Typos? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

So I hope you’re having a good New Year so far. I’m planning on relaxing and watching Ohio State take on Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl today (Go Bucks!) and having dinner with my family tonight. Not sure what’s on the agenda for the rest of you, but I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.

And if you’re looking for something to read this New Year, maybe you can head over to Amazon, Createspace, or Smashwords, where all my books are on sale now. It’s the perfect time to try a new read and support an independent novelist at the same time. Sale goes on till January 14th, so there’s plenty of time to make a selection.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!