Posts Tagged ‘anthology’

As you guys know by now, I’m a pretty dedicated horror fan. I read a lot of horror novels and watch a lot of horror movies, I decorate my apartment with horror knick-knacks (just the other day, a Jason Voorhees mask and Funko doll arrived for me from Amazon), and of course, I write a ton of horror. Only thing is, lately I’ve been writing a lot of science fiction, and that’s getting a little old.

The hockey mask looks good on us.

I’ve been working on Full Circle, the final book in the Reborn City series I’ve been working on since high school, since November. And as of the completion of the latest chapter this morning (finished it in just a little over an hour. Do you know how rarely that happens?), I’m just under halfway through the first draft. And while I’m still dedicated to finishing the first draft and the series itself, I’m getting a little tired of the constant sci-fi. Don’t get me wrong, I love science fiction. Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows, after all, and I get as geeky as anyone else when I think about The Last Jedi coming out this winter.

But check the About page of this blog. I’m a horror writer, and all this sci-fi gets a little wearisome. I want to dip back into the world of ghosts, ghouls, serial killers, and all other manner of monsters that go bump in the night.

Plus, I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to publish more horror short stories, as I’m trying the traditional route again and publishing short stories is a good way to do that. Can’t publish horror short stories if I’m constantly working on sci-fi.

So with that in mind, I’m taking a break from Full Circle to do a little short story writing. I’m going to first write a short story that I had the idea for a couple months back, and then I’m going to edit The Playroom, a short story I wrote back in late 2015 and have not touched since. I think it’s about time I took a look at that one again, and then see if I can get it in a magazine or an anthology. After those are both done, I should be good to get back to work on Full Circle (though if I need to, I’ll write another short story). I have a feeling that starting with the next chapter, it’s going to be hard to stop writing this one anyway, so this is a good time to take a break and slake my thirst for horror.

Until next time, Followers of Fear. And may the terror be with you…always.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m dividing my writing time between working on Full Circle* and working on short stories. And with my short stories, there’s been more of an emphasis lately to write them with the goal of getting them into magazines and/or anthologies. Why? Well, as many of you know, I’ve been trying the traditional publishing route again (though I will self-publish if I feel a story is better off getting published that way), and while getting published in magazines and anthologies isn’t absolutely necessary to getting an agent and/or publisher, they do help make you more appealing to them. Kind of like internships and volunteering on a resume during a job search, if you think about it a certain way.

That being said, getting your short stories in mags and anthologies is pretty difficult these days. Okay, the short story market has always been difficult (Stephen King said in his autobiography On Writing that he had railroad spikes full of rejection letters from mags/publishers/agents/etc. before he found success), but in an age where so much content is available for free, reading has to compete with movies, streaming, and video games, and even self-publishing is cutting into magazine’s readership,** magazines and anthologies are even choosier than they used to be. Especially the ones that pay. They only accept the best work out of all the submissions they receive.

So up against this market, how can an author increase their chances of getting their stories published? Well, keep writing, get other people to take a look at your work for feedback, and don’t take every rejection as the end of the world or as a reflection of your talents, of course. But is there anything beyond that to help one get editors’ attentions? Well, there are a few strategies, and I’d like to list them here:

  1. Research and target. In this strategy, an author should create stories geared towards a particular magazine or group of magazines. For example, if you find a magazine that prefers urban fantasy stories, write an urban fantasy story that the magazine would probably like. Look at the magazine’s website and/or in recent issues to get an even better idea of what sort of stories they prefer (maybe they prefer female protagonists, or they hate romances between humans and supernatural creatures). Once you have a good idea of what they prefer in their stories, write one in that vein and then submit it to them. Chances are that if the story is the kind the magazine specializes in and likes, they’ll publish it.
    I’ve actually used this strategy successfully before. My first published short story, Summers with Grandmother Fumika, is about a fox-spirit that takes part in a Japanese tea ceremony. It was written after I discovered a magazine that specializes in articles and fiction relating to tea! Earned $100 for that story, which to a high schooler who averaged about $28-$35 dollars selling tickets for basketball games, was a pretty big deal. And I recently wrote a short story that I wrote for a specific sub-genre of horror, so there’s a good chance that it could be published in any of the publications that like those stories (though time will tell, of course).
  2. Rely on your networks. We live in an age of social media, and that means we come across all sorts of people we might never have even known existed thirty, twenty, or even just ten years ago. That means if you have a blog, belong to writer’s groups on Facebook, or belong to an online critique circle, you potentially have dozens or hundreds of people who can help you find homes for your stories. For example, I asked one of my writers’ groups on Facebook if they had any suggestions for places I could submit another short story in a particular sub-genre of horror. Within a few hours, I had a couple of responses that I could follow up with.
    Sometimes your friends don’t even have to give you suggestions. Occasionally, they run magazines or anthologies! In the past three years, three short stories were published in anthologies where a friend of mine was one of the editors (you know who you are). Just from this, you can see what an amazing resource friends can be!
  3. Check your publications. There are a buttload of books out there that are meant to help the average writer write and publish their work. Most of them have sections full of listings for magazines, agencies etc, and a lot of them are updated yearly. The best part is, a lot of libraries carry copies of these great tomes with them. I highly recommend The Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market from Writer’s Digest. They have great articles and listings (though never enough in the horror department, sadly).
  4. Google. I know, sounds like something that goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how often this doesn’t occur to people. Google is a remarkable resource, and if you’re careful with your search terms and what links you click on, it can open doors. In the past couple months, Google has led me to several magazines and anthologies that specialized in stories I could send them. At the moment, I’ve been rejected by one, but there’s a chance I could be accepted by two more. And if those don’t work out, there are all sorts of places I can still try out. All thanks to Google

Now, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll get into a magazine or anthology, even with using these tips. That’s fine, many successful writers have rarely or even never been published in these sort of publications. But if you think it can help your career, or you prefer short to longer stories, these tips might just help you get into that collection of winter-themed romances or into that magazine that likes hopeful stories involving space exploration and interactions with alien species. And that is a joy that every writer relishes.

*Speaking of which, when I’m working on that, the general policy is “get a chapter done, then work on a short story or a blog post.” So if you see a post come out on this blog over the next couple of months, it’s either because something big happened worthy of blogging about, or I just got a chapter of FC done. Like I did right before I started writing this post (only 22 more to go!).

**Dammit self-publishing, why do you have to–wait, what am I saying?

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I think this interview has been a long time in the making, and I’m glad it’s finally happened.

Today’s author is a woman who you might have seen commenting a lot on this blog. She’s an author of several vampire novels, as well as a contributor to Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, and a contributor/editor/compiler/whatever to the Ink Slingers’ anthologies, including Strange Portals and the recently published When the Lights Go Out. It’s Joleene Naylor, and I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say!

Welcome to the blog, Joleene. So tell us, what are your short stories about and what inspired them?

Unforgotten is about a pair of old school chums in the UK who go on an annual trip every year on the same date. This years’ trip is complicated by Gordon’s missing wife and the ghost of a little girl who wants to be found. It’s actually based on a dream I had. It started out the same: in a car discussing having been interrogated by the police. Only there was no ghost girl.

In Beldren, a group of former indentured servants decide to take what they feel they are owed from an easy mark; a household of women. Their plan is perfect except for one thing: the women are vampires.  This one was inspired one night when a pickup kept going around and around past our house and my brother got nervous they were “up to something” and I thought, “I wonder what would happen if robbers broke in and found out the people of the house were serial killers? Or vampires? Hmmmm… That could be an interesting story…” Hopefully it is.

I read the first one and liked it, so I have high hopes for the second one. Now what else have you written?

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The Amaranthine vampire series. Shades of Gray is the first, and the newest is book seven, Clash of Legends. I’ve tried to make the story creepy and disturbing, and at times bloody and horrific, instead of just the usual romantic sop that a certain YA book has turned the vampire genre into. There’s no sparkling and no high school, just blood, fighting, and vampires who feed on humans and burn in the sun.

Are you a traditionally or self-published writer?

Self published because I want to own the rights to my own work.

What got you into writing in the first place?

My mother was a writer and poet, so it never occurred to me not to “make up stories”. My brother and I used to make (and illustrate) books for fun when we were children. (I also used to draw book covers and catalogs, complete with product descriptions – I was strange.)

What is it about scary stories that you think draw people in?

People enjoy being scared – safely. We like that little “Oh!”, the tiny burst of adrenaline and that aftermath giggle, but we like when we know we’re not *really* in danger, and a scary story can give us that.

Are you working on anything these days?

I’ve reworked Patrick: A Prequel, but I need to edit it. I am also working on Masque of the Vampire, the eighth book in the series, and the Tales of the Executioners short story collection. There are four of those, three are available for free through most retailors (except Amazon) and the fourth, Beldren, is included in the When the Lights Go Out anthology.

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

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Write what you want to read because if you want to read it, then edit the heck out of it. Change words, shorten scenes, add scenes, delete scenes. The original version may seem like a masterpiece to you, but it isn’t – it’s a rough stone that needs cut down and polished in order to shine.  That may be hard to admit sometimes, or to acknowledge, but it’s the truth for everyone.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would you take?

I think short story collections give you more bang for your buck when it comes to being stranded for a long time, so: The Complete Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, The Faun and the Woodcutter’s Daughter by B. L. Picard, and right now I really, really, really want to read A Candle in Her Room by Ruth M Arthur, only I can’t find a copy priced at anything I can afford, so in fantasy land I would have it. Alternately, if it has to be a book I owned, I’d swap it out for My Sweet Audrina by VC Andrews.

Well, thank you Joleene for joining us today. Really enjoyed picking your brain. And readers, if you want to check out more of Joleene, you can find her on her website, her blog, her Facebook page, on Twitter, and on Goodreads.

Also check out the Interviews page for my talks with other authors and even some characters.

And make sure to check out When the Lights Go Out, available from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. It’s the perfect way to start the Halloween season.

You remember my recent interview with author Barbara G. Tarn? Well, she also interviewed me and it was just awesome. If you’d like to check out the full interview, check out her blog, it’s got some great stuff on it!

And as always, check out When The Lights Go Out, where you can find creepy stories from the both of us within. Now available on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes. It’s the perfect reading for getting into the Halloween season.

creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator)

unnamedAnd it’s a guest! From the Ink Slingers Halloween Anthology but he was also in last year’s anthology! When I read “Travelers”, I thought I wanted to know more about the guy, but look, almost a year went by and… he did it again! His “Tigress Lizzy” gave me the right chills at the right times… so go grab your copy right now! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rami Ungar!

Where do you live and write from?

I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio, though for the past two and a half months I’ve been living and working as an intern with the US Army in Wiesbaden, Germany. As to where I write, anyplace I can plug in my laptop and let my creative juices flow, whether that be at home, in a café, a library, or even in the office when there’s nothing going on (rare moments, I tell you).

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when the lights go out cover

Well, I didn’t know this was happening so soon, but I guess it’s an early treat, which is always better than an early trick. The latest anthology from the Ink Slingers’ League, When The Lights Go Out (also known as WTLGO for the sake of keeping things short), has just become available for download! This creepy Halloween anthology contains a variety of terrifying stories from a plethora of authors, including yours truly, and I even got to write the introduction and help out with picking a title. Other authors in the anthology include Joleene Naylor, DM Yates, Barbara Tarn, Tricia Drammeh, Roger Lawrence, Adan Ranie, and many more!

If you’re still unsure about whether or not this anthology is for you, here’s the description:

A collection of twenty-five short stories just in time for Halloween. Enjoy thrills, chills, and mysteries. Meet ghosts, demons, vampires, and monsters everywhere from dark city streets to the English countryside. Scares lurk in the most unexpected places and, when the lights go out, no where is safe and no one will be spared.

Doesn’t that sound creepy? And if you need any more incentive to check it out, the entire anthology is very affordable. It’s available for a little under a dollar from Amazon and for free from Smashwords. And as it becomes available on more formats, like Kobo and iTunes, I’ll be posting those links on my Stand Alones & Other Works page.

Once again, thanks to Joleene Naylor for making me part of,this anthology in so many ways. I’ve already started reading it and I’m impressed by what I’ve seen so far. I’m looking forward to reading the rest and I’m so glad you thought one of my works was worthy of this impressive and terrifying collection of tales.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you decide to check out WTLGO and have a spooky good time with me. Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

when the lights go out cover

Some of you may remember a previous post where I announced that a short story of mine, “Tigress Lizzy” was going to be published in an upcoming anthology by the same folks who did Strange Portals. I’m very pleased to announce that the anthology now has a name and a cover, and I have more news besides that!

Alright, as the title of this post indicates, this anthology is called When The Lights Go Out, a title I suggested to anthology editor/vampire novelist extraordinaire/indie colleague Joleene Naylor, so I’m very honored that she chose it for the title of this anthology. She also did the cover for this anthology, by the way. And holy shit, is that creepy to behold! It’s like she crossed Ring with Grudge and The Exorcist! I’m getting goosebumps just looking at it!

Or is that the ghost I suspect is haunting my apartment? I’m never quite sure.

Oh, and I have some more news relating to WTLGO (yes, I am starting that abbreviation. You shall use it to save time when referring to this anthology because it is just that much easier). In addition to being the author of one of the twenty-five short stories featured in the anthology, I was also asked to write the introduction. Yes, that’s right. I got to write the introduction! I’m really happy about that, and Joleene tells me she really liked it, which I call very high praise indeed!

Finally, WTLGO will be coming out sometime early next month from e-book retailers everywhere. As soon as it comes out, I’ll be posting links so you can check it out! The anthology will be free of charge, so if you’re of little pocket money but still have a device to read this on, you won’t have to miss out.

Though if I were you, I wouldn’t read this one right before bed. You might never sleep again…

I’ll post more when I have more. I’m riding a huge high right now, so I’m going to ride that high right to bed (it’s nearly ten at night here in Germany and I have early mornings!). I’ll celebrate with you guys in the morning. You have a great one, my Followers of Fear!

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

Well, it’s a big day for me and for this blog, folks. Four years ago, at a library in Columbus, Ohio, 18 year old me logged onto WordPress for the first time and wrote a very bare blog post explaining who I was and why I was starting a blog (while also making a distinction between myself and the Rami Ungar in Israel who apparently is some big shipping magnate). I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time, because I’d thought blogging would be easy and that I didn’t need to watch the tutorials. I also thought that I’d have five hundred loyal and excited followers by the first anniversary and that they would be hanging on my every word.

Boy, did reality hit fast. I did learn eventually about blogging, and that doing it well is an ongoing process. I also did not get that many followers in that first year. Maybe 60. And I didn’t get that many views in the first year, either. Or for part of the second year. But I kept at it, kept blogging. People somehow found their way here and decided, for whatever reason, to subscribe and like and occasionally comment. And here we are four years later, with me in Germany, and you guys coming from the United States, Canada, England, Austria, and so many other places. It’s just humbling, so thank you all for being here.

You know, when I started this blog, I did it for a simple, slightly selfish reason: I wanted a ready readership for when I published my stories. Yeah, that’s it. I’ve known since I was a kid I wanted to be an author and to have people reading my books, so I wanted to make sure that when it happened I had a lot of people who would be willing to read my books when they came out or buy a copy of a magazine when I got something published there.

Well, like every journey, I’ve found something much different. I mean, some of you do read my books and short stories when they are published, and I’m sincerely grateful for that, really. But I’ve found much more. I’ve found wonderful friends, some of whom have helped me in so many ways in making sure that my stories are as good as they should be. Without blogging, I would never have discovered Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, which has been a great boost for my career and for my following. I started a new blog, From the Voice of Common Sense, which has been pretty fun to write and has had some interesting results.

And I’m sure more great things are to come. I’m hoping that this next year I’ll reach a thousand followers, and I’m pretty sure before that happens I’ll reach twenty-five hundred comments.  Depending on how many people read my posts, I could get somewhere between thirty-five and forty-thousand views, and at some point I’ll get five-thousand likes.

More importantly, I’ll probably make some more great friends, and maybe meet some of them offline (it could happen). I might publish a book or two, and I’ll certainly get a few short stories out, starting with “Tigress Lizzy” in the anthology coming out this October. And as for life…I don’t know. I’m hoping I find permanent employment after this internship with the US Army Civilian Corps is over. If that doesn’t happen, I have other options that I’m seriously considering. We’ll see what happens.

Thanks for celebrating with me, everyone. It means a lot to me.

Thanks for celebrating with me, everyone. It means a lot to me.

In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me through these four years, everyone. I hope we have a wonderful and somewhat scary time in the next year, as I work hard on becoming a successful horror novelist who might someday be able to take up writing full-time (I can dream).

You know, when I get to the fifth anniversary, I’m going to have to do something special. An autographed book giveaway? A big sale? Maybe name a character after someone I know? We’ll have to see.

That’s all for now. You have a wonderful rest of your day, my Followers of Fear. I know I will.