Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Some of you are probably wondering when a certain novelist I hold in high regards will appear on this list. Don’t worry, he’s appearing today (and this is only one of two times he’ll appear during this challenge).

Anyway, welcome back to Day Four of the Ten Day Book Challenge. I wonder what my cousin Matthew, who nominated me for this, thinks of these blog posts. Anyway, let’s get onto the rules and talk about today’s featured book.

  • Thank whoever nominated you with big, bold print. If they have a blog, link to the post where you got tagged there. He doesn’t have a blog, as far as I’m aware, but thanks Matthew! I appreciate it!
  • Explain the rules.
  • Post the cover of a book that was influential on you or that you love dearly.
  • Explain why (because I don’t see the point of just posting a picture of a book cover without an explanation. That goes for Facebook as well as blogs).
  • Tag someone else to do the challenge, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Well, as I said, you all knew this guy would show up somewhere during this challenge. Truth be told, it was tough keeping it down to two books by this guy, and only two, but I did it. Not only that, but they’re two of his longest books, and two of his best (at least in my honest opinion). The first one, which also happens to be my first of his works and is probably the quintessential example of his ouvre: It by Stephen King.

Where do I start with this one? It was the perfect novel to introduce me to the work of Stephen King; to keep me up at night, afraid that a killer clown would come up to the sliding door of our rental home near the beach to get me; and the perfect book to get me addicted not just to reading horror, but to writing horror. In many ways, this book is just as much part of my writing journey as Harry Potter was. I still have the copy I bought all those years ago, and if I ever get to meet His Royal Scariness, I hope he’ll be kind enough to sign it and give me some words of encouragement.

From what I hear, he’s a pretty cool dude, so I’m hopeful. Not very, but I am. As I’ve said before, weirder stuff has happened in my life.

Today’s tag goes to my good friend Angela Misri of A Portia Adams Adventure. One of my oldest writing friends, and a great talent as well. I hope I get to see what books she’s going to post.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Today’s my only day at the office before I go on a trip for work, so let’s see what I can accomplish in this day. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Advertisements

I’ve had quite a few songs stuck in my head lately, most of them from the 1980’s: “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher and “Love Walks In” by Van Halen are frequent guests in my head. I’ve also had “Come Sail Away” by Styx and most of the soundtrack of Wicked playing in my head. No reason to tell you that. I just wanted to see if I could get any of those songs stuck in your head. I’m evil that way. You’re welcome.

Onto Day Three of the Ten Day Book Challenge, as nominated by my cousin Matthew. Let’s go over the rules one more time, shall we?

  • Thank whoever nominated you with big, bold print. If they have a blog, link to the post where you got tagged there.
  • Explain the rules.
  • Post the cover of a book that was influential on you or that you love dearly.
  • Explain why (because I don’t see the point of just posting a picture of a book cover without an explanation. That goes for Facebook as well as blogs).
  • Tag someone else to do the challenge, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

So for today’s book, I thought I’d talk about another important book in my development as a writer, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.

Interview was another revelation in the power of words for me. I already knew how words could bring worlds and the people in them to life, but this book (and its sequels) not only painted them into being, but their thoughts and their outlooks on life. It was psychological storytelling before I even knew what psychological storytelling was. Interview, in particular. The novel follows Louis, a young man in the midst of depression and grief, become a vampire and then reluctantly going through his immortality, encountering companionship, pain and loss over the centuries.

Not to mention, these were vampires well before they were sparkly and insipid. They were human, in their way, but they were also dark creatures. And they’re still hugely popular today, whereas Twilight has come and gone. Hell, Anne Rice is still writing books in the series, with its thirteenth book on the way out in November. And now there’s a TV series in development based on the books over at Hulu! I can’t wait to see it. That says something not only of the characters and the author, but of the power of the stories being told. Of the words bringing them to life.

And if you haven’t encountered Anne Rice’s vampires, give yourself the Dark Gift (so to speak) and check them out.

And now to tag someone. Today I’m tagging my friend Ruth Ann Nordin. Hope you’re able to do this, Ruth. I look forward to seeing what books you choose if you are able to do this.

Ugh, this challenge is just about killing me! I’m not sure I can survive the last eight days! Someone put me out of my misery!

[goes off to make a cup of tea. Drinks tea]

Okay, I’m better. Let’s get this ball rolling. On to Day Two of the Ten Day Book Challenge! Brought to you by my cousin Matthew, who is the biggest Game of Thrones fan I know (books and TV show). And once again, let’s go over the rules:

  • Thank whoever nominated you with big, bold print. If they have a blog, link to the post where you got tagged there.
  • Explain the rules.
  • Post the cover of a book that was influential on you or that you love dearly.
  • Explain why (because I don’t see the point of just posting a picture of a book cover without an explanation. That goes for Facebook as well as blogs).
  • Tag someone else to do the challenge, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk my choice of book. Or to be more precise, choice of books, as I’m talking about a trilogy. Kind of cheating, but this is just an Internet meme. Who the hell cares? Anyway, allow me to present to you The Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, consisting of The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate.

This was one of the first series I read after my years-long Harry Potter binge-fest. And man, did it pack a wallop! Imagine a world where magicians summon demons and have often used that ability to rule over the masses, founding some of the world’s greatest empires. At the time the books take place, London is the center of the world, with magicians ruling over a common class with few rights. The story focuses on Nathaniel, a magician’s apprentice who summons the sardonic djinni Bartimaeus to help him get revenge on another magician. This starts off a chain of events that sees Nathaniel go on the journey of a lifetime, all coinciding with London going through a time of civil upheaval unlike anything the city’s ever seen before.

This book series was the perfect choice for me after the HP books: it was immersive and had some similar concepts, but enough to make it very different. And I’m not just talking about the mechanism of the magic (though that in itself is very different). The main characters are often complicated, not exactly good but not exactly evil either. They’re very much the products of their environment, and while that makes them at times very unsympathetic, it also makes them fun to follow. The series also deals with some really deep themes, and doesn’t wait till the second book to deal with them like Harry Potter does: classism, prejudice, freedom versus security, dictatorship versus rule by the people, the master-servant relationship, the consequences of child neglect and abandonment, and the rise and fall of empires, among others.

Add in great storytelling and a narrator full of wit and sarcasm in the form of the djinni Bartimaeus, you’ve got yourself a fun and exciting urban fantasy series.

Sadly, not as many people know about this series as others, which I think is a shame because it really should be more popular. Hell, there was even a movie adaptation of the first book in the works at some point, but it never happened. Hopefully a mention here might get people interested in reading it and perhaps increase interest in it. Maybe. Who knows? Weirder things have happened.

Well, that’s it for today’s post. I nominate my good friend Joleene Naylor for this challenge. Enjoy Joleene, and I can’t wait to see what your choices are.

So on Facebook, this thing’s been going around my friend circles where you post one picture of the cover of a book that you love or found influential, no explanation, and then tag someone else to do the same. You do this for ten days in a row, posting a different book cover and tagging a different person each day. I knew that eventually I’d get tagged, so I wasn’t surprised when my cousin Matthew tagged me for his second day. However, because I never follow anyone else’s drumbeat, I decided to do this on my blog and talk about why I love the books so much. Who knows? It may get some people to pick it up and read it.

So with any viral Internet tag/challenge/meme/award/whatever, you have a set of rules. Here are mine for this challenge:

  • Thank whoever nominated you with big, bold print. If they have a blog, link to the post where you got tagged there. He doesn’t have a blog, as far as I’m aware, but thanks Matthew! I appreciate it!
  • Explain the rules.
  • Post the cover of a book that was influential on you or that you love dearly.
  • Explain why (because I don’t see the point of just posting a picture of a book cover without an explanation. That goes for Facebook as well as blogs).
  • Tag someone else to do the challenge, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

So there we go. We have rules, so let’s start the Ten Day Book Challenge. And with Day One, the choice of book is obvious: it’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

It’s fair to say that without Harry Potter, I wouldn’t be a writer. When I saw the first film it blew my mind, but the first book, which I think I read afterwards…I don’t know how to describe it, truth be told. Not just the world of Harry Potter, but the words within truly immersed me in the story. I don’t think before then I knew how words could be used like that. The words were the real magic, because they made places and creatures and people and concepts with rules come to life out of nothing. Like God, in a way. And I worshiped JK Rowling for years like a god, rereading the available four books at the time obsessively. But not only that, but I tried to write like JK Rowling. My first attempt at a novel was a Harry Potter-esque story with a female lead.* And even when I stopped working on that story, I still relied on Harry Potter and the works of JK Rowling to give me a basis on how to write.

It sometimes amazes me how far from Harry Potter ripoffs I’ve come since then. In fact, there’s almost no resemblance between my stories and Harry Potter! Still, without JK Rowling’s initial influence, I might be doing something very different today. And I have no idea what that “something very different” might be.

Ooh, there’s a horror story right there!

Anyway, I’m tagging my friend and fellow author Matthew Williams of Stories by Williams. Good luck, Matt! I hope you have fun with this (as well as time for it, what with a new book out and all).

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear! I’m going to start prepping for tomorrow’s post…as well as possibly Days Three through Ten. Something tells me I’m going to need the prep.

*For more on my early writing projects, click here for an article on that subject.

My latest article on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, “What Do You Wear to an Author Event?” has just gone live on the site. As these self-evident titles of mine show, this one is about what authors should wear to a reading, book signing, or if you somehow end up on national television (which hopefully doesn’t involve urine released during a nervous mood). It’s a question I’ve had to wrestle with recently with Rose’s eventual publication on the horizon. Someone suggested to me I might want to consider dressing up a bit more now that I was at a new stage of my career, and of course I wondered if that was necessary.

The answer will shock you.

Please go and check out the article if you have a moment. And if you have the time, check out the rest of the site. Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors is an excellent site with helpful and introspective articles from self-published and hybrid authors on how to write, edit, publish and market efficiently and effectively. No matter your genre, experience and background, you’ll find an article with information that you’ll find truly helpful. Believe me, I should know. I’m not just a contributor, I’m a reader.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got stories to work on, so I’m going to get on those. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

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

An entire year has gone by for this blog. And it feels like so much longer for some reason. Has that ever happened to any of you? And now this blog is seven years old. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for about seven years now. This blog, along with the people I get to interact with on it, has become so apart of my life, I can’t remember what life was like before I had it and all of you. This blog is a way to share my thoughts and feel like some people are cheering me on as I work on my career.

And this past year was especially awesome, writing and blogging-wise. I not only finished a third draft of Rose, but a fourth and a fifth, the last one changing a lot of elements in the story (for the better, I like to think). Plus I somehow managed to find a publisher for Rose, which means it’ll hopefully be published before it starts to get cold again (no promises, though). I managed to write and edit some more stories, and I even got Car Chasers accepted for publication (and I may have news on another short story very soon, fingers crossed). And I was able to gain, keep, and surpass a thousand followers on this blog. These are all things I hoped would happen in my anniversary post last year, and they all happened.

Not to mention the things that happened in my personal life, which I don’t talk about that much on this blog anymore but are still worth mentioning at any rate. Work has been busy, but I’ve accomplished a lot that’s been set before me, including traveling and attending important trainings for work, and even coordinating programs that are meant to improve my organization; I saw three ballets live and one on video, leading to the discovery of my obsession with the art form (I also saw a couple of Broadway plays, and that was pretty cool); I joined the Horror Writers Association, and have been reaping the benefits since; I finally got my driver’s license, after nearly ten years of on-and-off driving practice; and so much more. It’s incredible how much I’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Oh, that’s why this year felt longer. I’ve been doing so much, it felt like it went on longer than it was.

But anyway, a huge reason why I’ve been able to do so much is because of you, my Followers of Fear. You’re always there, rooting for and supporting me. I’m honestly amazed sometimes at how much this blog has grown, and the friendships I’ve been able to strike up through the interactions here. I say this a lot during these posts, but there was a time when I only got a few views every couple of days, and hardly any interaction from readers. It really means a lot to me that you’re all here, reading what I have to say and responding to it. You are all so totally amazing and I can’t thank you enough for that.

So what’s going to happen in the next year? Well, I hope to keep putting out quality material on this blog. I want to get Rose out on the market so you all can read it (and maybe give me reviews for feedback?). I want to get a car, now that I finally have a license. I plan to get more stories written, edited and maybe even published. Perhaps I’ll even start a new novel. And so much more. We’ll have to check back and see what I managed to do a year from now.

In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of fun stuff coming up, including a trip to the Ohio State Reformatory for a spooky haunted tour (that’s Sunday! Here’s hoping I get some paranormal evidence on video again). I’ll make sure to update you all on that as soon as I can. So until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares. Lots and lots of pleasant nightmares.

My friend Kat Impossible of Life and Other Disasters tagged me (and anyone with an interest) for this Harry Potter-themed tag. Seeing as Harry Potter is the reason I became a writer, and Harry’s 38th birthday is today (that’s right, he’d be 38 years old if he were a real person. Let that sink in for a moment), I figured it only made sense to do it and spread the word. Thus, here we are.

So Alohamora, on we go. Let’s get this thing started.

What is your blood status?

On the one hand, I get why this question is here. But on the other hand, it feels so wrong to ask a question based on how “pure” your blood is. We all know that pure-blood families just destroy all records of the members who intermarry. And how are they so sure none of their relatives intermarried with Muggles prior to blood-status becoming such a thing (Salazaar Slytherin was considered an outlier in his day, after all)?

Anyway, Kat had two tests to determine this (click here and here to try them out). I got pure-blood on the first one and half-blood on the second. I flipped a coin, and got heads, which is pure-blood. I guess my theory that my mother’s side of the family is related to Moaning Myrtle wasn’t so spot on after all (yeah, that’s a thing).

What wand chose you?

According to Pottermore, my wand is ten and three-fourth inches, laurel wood, unicorn core, and very flexible and swishy. According to the site, that means my wand’s magical performance is consistent and decent, hates laziness, and very adaptable to my needs. I have to say, I kind of like that.

Did you take a cat, an owl or a toad with you?

Cat, of course. As cool as owls are, I’m not very fond of birds, and besides, the school has plenty of owls. And we all know that toads are boring and that only losers get them. So obviously, we go for cats…which in the Wizarding World, tend to be more intelligent and great judges of characters than other cats, so I guess that works very well for me.

Now what to name my magical kitty? A difficult question if ever I’ve heard one. I guess it depends on what kitty I get.

Where did the Sorting Hat put you?

Slytherin, according to Pottermore. I was shocked when I first found out, but I guess it makes sense. I mean, one of my nicknames is the Pale Dark Lord, and I have to be at least a little bit evil and ambitious to write horror like I do. Of course, when I told my mom, who is a huge Potterhead, she nearly disowned me right there and then over the phone. And my sisters were almost afraid to associate with me. But they’ve come around since then. My mom even bought me a Slytherin shirt when she went to Harry Potter World in Florida a few years ago. It’s one of my favorite shirts ever. And last year in Boston, I bought a Slytherin tie from an HP-themed shop. I love wearing it to work and when people there notice it.

What house did you want to be put in?

Gryffindor, I think. Everyone wants to be in Harry’s house, after all. And if not that, Ravenclaw, because I read a lot and like to think of myself as intelligent. However, I’m glad I went to Slytherin in the end. Like I said, it makes a whole ton of sense. And besides, I do a great Draco Malfoy impression when I take off my glasses.

What are your favorite and least favorite lessons?

 

Ooh, tough choices considering I’ve only heard Harry’s experiences with his classes to judge by. Though if I had to guess, I probably would enjoy Potions the most. Unlike Chemistry, where you had to understand how molecules and acids and bases interact, Potions is very much like cooking, except without food. And to use a bad joke, I can be a wizard in the kitchen sometimes (my friend and colleague Joleene Naylor can attest to that). So I think I’d excel at that. I might even take up potion-making as a hobby.

As for least favorite, I’d have to go with Arithmancy. Math-based magic does not sound like a lot of fun, and math has never been my favorite subject to begin with. I’m actually surprised that Hermione likes it, as in both real life and in the Wizarding World, it’s used to predict the future. Then again, numbers and patterns are used by economists and college professors all the time to predict economic trends and presidential elections, so I guess Hermione likes it because it actually produces results, unlike standard Divination.

What is your Patronus?

I’m a dolphin, apparently (which also means that’s what I’d turn into if I were an Animagus). Makes sense, as I’m a very fun-loving and excitable person. Though I’m not very fond of swimming, truth be told.

What does your boggart look like?

Rejection by people I love. I have this ongoing anxiety that something I say or do might cause people to hate me and not want to associate with me. A boggart turning into people I know saying they want nothing more to do with me and pointing out all my flaws would be a nightmare. As for what I’d turn it into, I think I’d have it turn into a performance the musical The Book of Mormon. That musical is hysterical, and forcing the boggart to become that would be such fun (see this video from the Tonys a few years ago just to get an idea of how funny this boggart would be).

Either that, or Tom Ellis playing Lucifer, because I can’t be scared of that devil. I’d just melt into his arms…

I’m sorry, I was drooling for a second. What were we talking about?

Do you partake in any magical hobbies or school sports?

Probably. As I said earlier, I’d probably enjoy making Potions, so I would definitely be part of the Potions Club. I’m not much of a sports player, so I don’t think I’d be on a Quidditch team, but I might enjoy flying for fun (in fact, is there a club for that?). Surprisingly, I don’t know if I would be a writer if I were a wizard. Except for the Tales of Beedle the Bard, a comic book about a mad Muggle, and everything by Gilderoy Lockhart (burn!), there’s not much evidence of fiction existing in the Wizarding World. There are plenty of non-fiction books mentioned in the series, but very little fiction.

Perhaps I might still be a writer, though. I’d just adjust my stories to be horror stories set in the Wizarding World, possibly dealing with entities that ordinary wizards can’t handle or Dark Wizards. But again, I don’t know. I guess it would depend on what forces shape my life while I’m at Hogwarts and then what happens afterward.

Where would you spend your spare time?

The library or the Slytherin common room. I love books, after all, and the library is a great place to read and study. And who doesn’t hang out in a common room? Oh, and wherever I could go to brew a potion. I have a feeling I’ll be using my cauldron quite a bit, so I’ll need a place where I can work without having to worry about the smell of cooking magic liquids.

What would you most likely get detention for?

Given what I got detention for in high school, either having late homework assignments or being too talkative. That last one has gotten me into trouble more than once in the past, though I’m better at controlling it nowadays.

What career do you want after graduating Hogwarts?

Well, if there is a Wizarding tradition of fiction, I could see myself going into that. Though seeing as writing probably doesn’t make that much money, even in the Wizarding World, I could see myself becoming either a Ministry official, or a Potioneer. Both of those would probably suit me very well.

I TAG…

Anyone who wants to do this tag! I mean, it is a lot of fun, so why shouldn’t you? Just make sure to link back to me when you do.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing this. Until next time, pleasant nightmares and GO SLYTHERIN!!!