Posts Tagged ‘audio book’

I’m going to start this post by stating for the record that I have not read any of the Dark Tower books, or the audiobooks, or the graphic novels. I’m coming at this as an outside fan, someone who likes Stephen King a lot but has yet to try his fantasy series because, as even King puts it, it’s an acquired taste.* I also realize that this is a movie, so they’re going to have to make many adjustments between getting the story from the page to the screen. I’m okay with that, because I’m pretty sure a straight adaptation would be longer than Titanic (and that’s three hours long!). And I somehow managed to keep away from reviews from other sources, so I went into the theater with a clear mind in order to judge this film on my own terms.

That being said, I liked this film.

The Dark Tower follows Jake Chambers, a teenager from New York who is having dreams about this strange world, a man dressed in black who is trying to destroy a gigantic tower, and a man called the gunslinger who hunts him. While the rest of his family and even some of his friends think he’s crazy, Jake manages to find a gateway to the mythical Mid-World, and becomes an important piece in the battle between Roland the gunslinger and Walter O’Dim the Man in Black, as well as an important piece in the battle to keep all of reality from becoming destroyed.

So like I said, this film worked for me. The visuals were very beautiful, giving us this huge world with strange features and breathtaking views. The actors were all great, especially the main three, Idris Elba as Roland, Matthew McConaughey as Walter, and Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers. My favorite was McConaughey, his take on Walter was terrifying. You could sense the psychopathy in this character, the indifference to death and love of destruction. It’s really creepy. Elba was also commanding as Roland, making you feel this intensity, and Taylor as Jake was a believable character who finds himself in this strange world and is trying to make the best of it.

*shudder* Scary dude.

Also, shout out to Fran Kranz as a bad guy. Did not know he was in the film, so it was so cool to see the guy who played Topher in Dollhouse there.

I also thought the fight scenes were choreographed very well. They didn’t look silly or hard to make out, and the camera work wasn’t shaky or anything. And for a series well-known for being complicated and bizarre, I actually felt like it was easy to follow. Sure, some things didn’t make sense or weren’t explained, but I was able to follow it for the most part.

That being said, there were two things that I didn’t like: one was there was this minor character called Timmy, who is supposed to be a friend of Jake’s, and he’s in the film for maybe three minutes and really doesn’t serve a purpose. If you took him out of the story, the film wouldn’t be missing anything. I also thought that the story was kind of by-the-numbers. There wasn’t any sort of point where I was surprised by what happened, or the filmmakers threw me for a loop. Was I thrilled? Yes. Did I was like, “Oh hey, I didn’t see that coming”? No.

But all in all, I think this is the best adaptation of The Dark Tower series we’re going to get without being overly complicated or bogged down in details. I know it’s not going to please everyone, especially hardcore fans, but it was a good film for me, and I would be interested to see a sequel and/or the television series in development based on the movie.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving The Dark Tower a 4.4 out of 5. Go see it, and find yourself reciting the Gunslinger’s Creed for the rest of the day.

*And if the books anything like their probable inspiration, HP Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, particularly The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, I’m willing to wait.

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Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

So it’s been a month since Video Rage, the sequel to Reborn City and the second book in the Reborn City series, came out. And I’m happy to say that it’s doing not too badly. In fact, some of the copies that have been sold have been bought by people other than me or my family. That’s a new one, LOL (in all seriousness though, a lot of copies have been sold. And I think my parents and my sister are the only people in my family who have copies besides me, so that says something). I think an author friend or two have been reading the books. And even Reborn City has had an uptick in sales, which I think says some good things.

And even better, I already have one review, which I encourage you to check out.

So with that in mind, I’ve got a few announcements I hope you’ll take the time to read. I’m certainly excited about them:

1. Some price changes on the e-books. I’ve expressed my regrets on this subject before, but I only have so much control over the price of the paperbacks (otherwise each paperback would be between eight and ten dollars, so they’d be a bit more affordable). However, I have plenty of control over the e-books, and I’m glad to say that I’m doing something different with the e-books of Reborn City and Video Rage that I’ve been wanting to try for quite some time.

VR CS front cover

Previously, all my e-books, with the exception of The Quiet Game, have retailed at $2.99. However, from now on, on all the platforms, the e-book of Reborn City will be $0.99, and the e-book of Video Rage will be $1.99. I’m hoping that this will make it a bit easier for people to get their hands on the books and enjoy them. I’ve heard from other authors who have used this method and have had very good results from this, but I’ve never had the chance to try this until now. And now that the opportunity has arrived, I thought I’d give it a try, see what happens.

So if you’ve wanted to read my science-fiction novels on your Kindle or Kobo or whatever but price has been a problem, I hope this helps.

2. The final book in the series will be my NaNoWriMo project this year. I know I said I was going to do a ghost story as my project for National Novel Writing Month, but I changed my mind for two reasons. One was that I wanted a bit more time for me to figure out the best way to tell this particular ghost story (I don’t normally write ghost stories, and I want to get it somewhat right when I do the first draft). The other is that I don’t want three more years to pass before I get out the next book in the series. Unless you’re writing Harry Potter, I don’t think that’s a good gap between books if you can help it. So I’m putting the final book ahead of the queue, with the hope that maybe I can get out maybe ten or twenty-thousand words this winter (I doubt with my schedule I’ll get close to fifty-thousand, though I can certainly try. And I got thirty-thousand of Snake written out back in the day, so who knows?).

I’ve actually done a little work already on the third book, which I intend to call Full Circle (my newest tag). I’ve come up with a bunch of new characters, including the villain(s) of the new book (if you haven’t read VR yet, I do give hints on who that might be, so go check it out so you can start theorizing), and written out the first couple chapters on an early draft of an outline. I also know some of the events that will come later, and I’ll be doing some research later this year so I can get some aspects of Islam right (it’s amazing how often Zahara’s religion comes up in the story).

Get excited, because this is probably my most ambitious novel yet, especially with all I have planned with this story.

RC cover

3. The Reborn City audio book is going to take some more time to bring about. Back in November, I said the audio book was on the way and I had a narrator. And since then, I really haven’t had any updates on this. Well, that’s because of embarrassment. You see, my narrator and I had to dissolve our contract due to some problems on both our ends. Since then, I’ve been trying to find a new narrator, and I may have one, but it depends on her schedule when she finishes her current projects early next month. I didn’t say anything because…well, who wants to admit that the audio book they were so enthusiastic about and which they were saying was going to be done as soon as possible is having technical difficulties?

I do still hope to have a Reborn City audio book out someday (and Snake, I’m working on that as well), though it may take a bit more time. Hopefully though, they will happen, and those among you who enjoy audio books will be able to enjoy them.

 

That’s all for now, Followers of Fear. Shabbat is coming in, so I have to get ready for that. You all have a wonderful weekend, and I hope I can check in at some point soon. In the meantime, the links for both books are below. Make sure to check them out if you’re interested. And if you do decide to read them, please do me a favor and leave a review so I know what you thought. Positive or negative, I love feedback, and it makes me a better writer too.

Until next time, then!

Reborn City: Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks,Smashwords, and Kobo

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!

My latest article from Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors is Finding a Narrator on ACX. I gained a lot of experience in the matter over the four months it took me to find mine, so I thought I’d share that experience with a helpful article. Perhaps it’ll get noticed by the company, like the last article I wrote on them did. If so, I hope they don’t think I’m a girl again when they tweet about it. That was hilarious, but I don’t like to be mistaken for a woman when I’m not at a costume party or have some other good reason to cross-dress.

Anyway, check out the article if you have the chance. And while you’re there, check out some of the other articles on Self-Pub Authors, which is written by independent novelists and designed to help you write, edit, publish, and market on your own while saving money and maintaining quality. Believe me, it is great. I wouldn’t write for it if it wasn’t.

That’s all for now. Have a great day and I’ll see you later, my Followers of Fear. Preferably I’ll see you with good news while I’m at it.

RC cover

It’s been a long time in the making, and a lot of work since I announced that I was planning on turning Reborn City, my science-fiction novel, into an audio book back in August. I listened to a lot of audio samples, contacted a bunch of potential narrators, and even received a couple of auditions. But as of today, I am very pleased to announce that Reborn City has a narrator!

If you’re unfamiliar with Reborn City, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel that follows Zahara Bakur, a Muslim teenager who’s forced to join a street gang called the Hydras, and her involvement in a strange plot involving the gang’s superpowered leaders and the shadowy corporation that rules the city they live in. The novel contains themes of Islamaphobia, racism, gang violence, drug addiction and several others.

It also is a world that has much more resemblance to our own than Hunger Games or Divergent does (just look at the refugee situation these days and how some governments have responded to refugees these days) and I like to think it makes a little more sense than those books.

The audio book will be narrated by Barron Bass, an actor and voice artist based out of New York (check out his website here). I heard some of his samples on ACX, the website I’m using to produce the audio book (see my article on that site here). I liked what I heard, and I started corresponding with him. Once I heard his audition, I had a pretty good feeling I’d found my man. After some more weeks of correspondence, I sent him an offer and he accepted.

Our esteemed narrator, Barron Bass.

Now, I’m hoping we’ll have the whole thing done by early March, but I’m flexible. If Mr. Bass needs more time, I’m willing to give it to him. You can’t rush perfection, after all.

So I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, which following the production process on ACX is that the first fifteen minutes of the book are recorded for my approval. After that, I give some feedback, and we work chapter by chapter on the book. Once it’s all done and it’s uploaded onto Amazon, Audible, and iTunes, I’m hoping a lot of people decide to check it out and take a listen. Maybe leave a few reviews while they’re at it.

And if RC does well, then maybe I’ll do Snake as well, and any other book I decide to publish from here on out. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I’m going to go do my happy dance. Have a good rest of your day, my Followers of Fear. I know I am.

Today’s a very special day. Two years ago, I stayed up late on Halloween night to make sure that Reborn City, my first published novel, was released in all its formats and then wrote the blog post announcing the good news for the very next day.

That’s right, two years ago today was the day Reborn City was published. A lot has happened since then, most of it having melted from my memories. But one thing has stood out to me: over these past two years, RC has definitely become my most popular published work yet (I know that’s not saying much with only three books out at the moment, but you get the idea).

If you’re not very familiar with RC yet, it follows Zahara Bakur, a young Muslim teenager living in a dystopian future who is forced to join the Hydras (not the Marvel supervillain organization), a street gang whose leaders have mysterious powers. Zahara learns to deal with her new lifestyle and friends, while at the same time she becomes unknowingly ensnared in a plot by a shadowy government interested in the Hydra leaders’ powers. The novel comprises of themes tackling Islamaphobia, racism, gang violence, drug addiction, and much more.

Over the past two years, I’ve had plenty of people read RC and a few of them have been willing to give feedback (and I think only a quarter of the people who do the latter are my family, which is good). Here’s what some of the people who have read RC have said:

This is an extremely commendable effort by a new young writer, whom I believe we will see much more of in the years ahead. Rami Ungar’s vision of a frightening dystopian future is peppered with those elements that make us all human. There are quite a few surprises in the book, and I am anxious for the next volume in the series to be released.

–Marc M. Neiwirth

As a reader who does not read books in this genre, I must admit that I could not put down the book. I attribute this to the talent of the author. I am looking forward to reading the next books published by Ungar. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy action with features of supernatural powers and sci-fi.

–ENJ

This is not a genre I typically delve into, but I took this book on vacation and couldn’t put it down. The plot had me turning pages at quite the clip. The characters were unique and interesting and the imagery had me creating my own visual of what Rami’s interpretation of the future looked like. For first time novelist, Rami Ungar, this was an outstanding showing of talent and commitment to his passion of writing. Looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next!

–Michele Kurland

If you can’t tell, I’m quite proud of some of the reviews I’ve received on this book. Considering that I started work on this book in high school and worked on it through the first two years of college, I guess I have good reason to be. It was not easy to get this book out, and I worried a lot about how it would do. I also worried that people would say I’m another white guy trying to make money off a subject that others have experienced and written about (the Kathryn Stockett criticism), but so far no one has made any fuss about RC in that way.

And what’s in store for RC in the next year? Well, I’m sure more people will read it. I know of at least one friend who bought a copy and will probably read it within the coming year, and I’m sure there are plenty more people who will find the book and discover something enjoyable in it. I might also get a few more reviews, who knows? I also think an RC audio book is likely to happen. I’ve been working hard to make that happen and I might even have a narrator soon, depending on a few factors. If and when that happens, I’ll make sure to let you all know (and to force my whole family to download copies if they want to stay on my good side. Mwa ha ha!).

And finally, I hope to get the sequel Video Rage fully edited and released by summer next year. I’m working with a professional editor this time, so I’ll let her take a look at the novel before I release it so that the story can be the best story possible. I owe it to the readers who loved RC to do that, at least.

Anyway, if you wish to check out Reborn City for yourself, you can find it both on Amazon and Smashwords. And if you do decide to read it, please write a review of it. Whether or not you love it, I appreciate the feedback, and reviews help indie authors like myself find new readers every time we get them, so you’d be doing me another solid essentially.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a lot of editing to do today, so I’m going to try to get through that. Wish me luck, my Followers of Fear, and happy anniversary!

Oh, and I may have forgotten the two-year anniversary of The Quiet Game, which came out in July of the same year. My bad. If you’d like to check that out, it’s also on Amazon and Smashwords. It’s a spooky good time, if I do say so myself. Enjoy.

Well, I’ve returned from Germany, my Followers of Fear. All in three pieces (don’t ask about the other two, you won’t like the answer). It’s good to be home, to say the least. A little weird after so long, but still very good. I enjoyed seeing my parents and my sister waiting for me at the airport and teaching them naughty German swear words (and my parents are rabbis, by the way. Scandalous!).

Of course, now that I’m back that doesn’t mean I can just slack off and do whatever I want. I’ve got a number of things on my to-do list today, and while I’m working to get those done, I’m taking a moment to talk about writing. Specifically, what are three qualities that writers need to actually write and get work done?

And I mean besides the actual imagination to come up with a story and the ability to transfer that story from the mind to the printed page. Not only does that go without saying, but a lot of people have very active imaginations and can write well enough that if they tried they could come up with a very good first draft. So why don’t they? What keeps people from actually acting out that writing dream?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since yesterday, when I spoke with someone on the final leg of my journey home who had tried writing but found himself unable to do it. I found myself wondering why that is, and I think part of why some people can write and some find themselves struggling to do so may stem from three needed qualities or skill sets: confidence, focus, and perseverance.

Now by confidence I don’t mean confidence that your story is going to succeed and will make tons of money. I mean confidence that you can actually get it done, that you can write out an entire story from start to end. Never mind whether it’s any good, first drafts are notoriously terrible because that’s how they’re supposed to be. You have to have the confidence that you can get that first draft done, and then maybe we can talk about the next draft and everything else that comes from that.

Think about it: even if you prefer to only work on short stories, that fitting an entire story in a space between a thousand and ten-thousand words. Even to me, that’s a little daunting, and I’ve become much better at writing short stories over the years (though I could always be better). Imagine how it might feel for someone who wants to write a novel but then finds out that a novel is at least sixty-thousand words! You can’t just say to yourself, “I’ll try and see where it gets me” when it comes to this sort of task. You have to have some confidence in yourself and that you can get all those words out on the page.

Otherwise you may falter around three-thousand words when you realize that getting a story out is not as easy as you think and may not be able to continue from there.

Another thing writers need to get work done is focus. You have to be able to focus on a project and get the work done. The person I spoke to yesterday on my flight told me this was his problem: he tried writing a story, but in the midst of writing that story he would come up with another story and then want to work on that, and his first story would languish. Then he’d have an idea for a third story and want to work on that, and then he’d have two stories being put on the shelf for later. So the cycle went and he had projects that just never got done.

Even if you juggle multiple projects at once, like I do (three novels at various stages of the editing process, one collection of short stories on the way, working to find a narrator for an audio book, etc), you have to be able to sit down and focus on one project for an extended period of time. Maybe even months or years. And other projects may demand to be written (believe me, I’ve got lists of story ideas, and some are pretty vocal in my head about wanting to be written), but you have to get some out of the way first before you can focus on others. Better to have just a few projects at most to work on and several ideas waiting to be turned into stories than a lot of projects just lying about not even a quarter of the way finished because they all demand to be written.

And this brings us to our final quality: perseverance. It’s an understatement at the very least to say that life is not easy. Take my life, for instance: I’m trying to ensure I have a job so I don’t become a bum in my dad’s guestroom, I have bills to pay, tasks on my to-do list to do, etc. So many demands that it’s hard to find time to write or edit. And when it comes to doing either, especially at the beginning of a project, I may sometimes have trouble getting the work done. All those words can make it hard to getting it all done.

Without these qualities, writing can feel like a Sisyphean feat.

To write, you have to accept that you have to work through all those difficulties before you can get through all those stories, and then do it. It’s never easy, and life will find ways to get in the way. Even when it does, you have to be willing to get through what life throws at you and then sit down and get through all the writing and editing and everything else you have to do. If not, then those stories you feel so passionate about will languish for so long you may never pick them up.

It’s these three qualities–confidence, focus, and perseverance–that make the difference between those who want to write and those who actually go out and do it. Each of us struggles with them at times–focus in the short term can be troubling for me–but in the end I think those who can command these qualities are the ones who can at least get the stories written out and polish them enough for publication.

But what do you think? Have I got the right of it? Did I miss something? Did any of these speak to you? Let’s discuss.

In the meantime, I have to focus on the other things on my to-do list like visiting the dry-cleaner’s the barber shop, and persevere through cold and possible rains at the same time. Still I’m confident I can do it, so I’m not too worried.

Still, wish me luck. I might need it later.