Posts Tagged ‘dragon bats’

One of the best ways to get into the Halloween spirit is to actually become a spirit. But if that’s not your jam, you can always read some scary fiction. And today, a story I didn’t think I could find a home for has been released in an awesome horror anthology!

The Ink Stains Dark Fiction Literary Anthology is an annual anthology of horror stories from a variety of authors looking to scare you silly. The publisher was on hiatus for a while as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, but it’s come back this year with a vengeance and with Volume 14. And speaking of vengeance, I have a story in the anthology that I’m quite proud of and that I didn’t think I could find a good home for.

“Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand-in-Hand,” AKA the dragon bat story, follows a young girl who gets wrapped up in a revenge plot invoking supernatural entities. Those entities are, you guessed it, giant bats known as dragon bats. The fact that this story even exists is amazing, because I just made a joke on social media once about releasing monsters called dragon bats, and my friend/fellow writer Iseult Murphy made some fan art of the creatures. This led me to want to write a story around them, and I combined them with an idea for how certain body parts can be used for occult rituals. The result was a story that I liked, but that I had difficulty finding a home for. Several times, I thought it might be impossible to find a home for the story.

Lo and behold, after about a year of submitting it around, Dark Alley Press bought the story for the anthology, and now it’s out today. Which just goes to show if you keep trying and believe in the story enough, you can find a home for it.

Anyway, I hope you’ll check out this story now that it’s released. Currently, Ink Stains vol. 14 is only available in paperback, but I’m sure an ebook edition will be available soon. Either way, there are a lot of great stories in this anthology besides my own, so I hope you’ll take advantage of spooky season to get a copy. And if you end up reading the anthology, be sure to post a review online. Anthologies often only survive this harsh book market by the reviews readers leave, so you’re helping the anthology, its publisher and the authors within every time you leave a review online.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to leave a link below. Enjoy, my Followers of Fear, and happy reading.

Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology volume 14 — Amazon


One more thing, my Followers of Fear: there’s a few days left of The Face of Horror contest’s Nightmare Round, and I’m currently at 8th place in my group. I need to be in at least fifth place by the time the round ends, so I need you to continue voting for me every day. With your help, I could survive the round and get a bit closer to the grand prize. Thanks again for your help on this. I appreciate it.

The Face of Horror — Rami Ungar

Well, I have a reading to prepare for. I’ll check in tomorrow when another anthology containing one of my stories releases. Until then, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and only 28 days till Halloween! Better get the decorations up, or the people living in your eyeballs will have something to say about it!

The post that got me thinking about this subject.

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

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

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

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

Snake is not a novel I would associate with forgiveness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Hide in your homes and pray for mercy! I got an acceptance this weekend! “Trauma and Disillusionment Sometimes Go Hand in Hand,” AKA the dragon bat story, is going to be published! It’ll appear in this year’s upcoming Ink Stains anthology from Dark Alley Press!

So, a little background for those of you who weren’t reading this blog last year. About a year ago, I posted on my social media about “releasing the dragon bats!” No reason, I just like to post weird stuff on my social media feeds to remind people that I love the scary and the macabre. But apparently this caught the eye of my friend, fellow author and Follower of Fear Iseult Murphy (you can check out her blog here), who ended up creating some fan art of these dragon bats. Here’s the art she drew.

Pretty neat, right? These were my first pieces of fan art ever, and I absolutely loved it! And I really wanted to make a story about these dragon bats now that they had art based on them. Which I did: “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand in Hand,” a novelette about a teen girl who gets wrapped up in a revenge plot involving calling on some dangerous supernatural forces.

I had a blast writing the story, but was worried that I’d be able to find it a home. There are more publications accepting novelettes now, but it’s still hard to find homes for them. But I kept plugging away and submitting, and lo and behold, it’s found a home!

And what a home it is! Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology used to be a twice-yearly anthology of horror and dark fiction that produced some great horror fiction, but stopped producing due to the pandemic. Now it’s back for the first time since the pandemic began, and I’m so excited and honored to be part of the new edition.

As for when you can expect to read “Disillusionment and Trauma,” as well as the rest of the stories in the latest edition of Ink Stains, it appears to be on track for an October release. As soon as I have news, you can expect me to post about it. Or, you can follow Dark Alley Press on their website and Facebook, as well as their parent company, Vagabondage Press, on Twitter.

Anyway, I want to thank N. Apythia Morges and the team at Dark Alley Press for accepting my story, and I can’t wait to be part of this amazing anthology. I also want to thank Iseult Murphy, who inspired this story and who helped me polish it up for publication. And I want to thank you, my Followers of Fear, for always supporting me and my stories. I hope you enjoy this one as much as you’ve enjoyed my stories.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and run! I’ve just released some actual dragon bats! And they’re vicious carnivores.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been shopping around a collection of original short stories and not been having much success. After the last rejection, I decided that I might as well take another look and do another round of editing, in case that had anything to do with it. There are nine stories in the collection, and I thought I’d give at least four or five a good run through. Now though, I’m planning on giving all but two (those that have been edited to death already) another pass.

I didn’t think what I would find would be so bad. Most of these stories were written in the past five or six years, so they should be fine. Right? Right?!

*Sigh*

I looked at the first story. I was horrified that it wasn’t as I remembered it. There were several mistakes that I needed to fix. Not just grammar/spelling/punctuation. but just plot issues that I should’ve fixed or excised in earlier drafts. And if the other stories are like this, I’m not surprised I kept getting rejected!

Well, can’t change the past. I’m taking another look at these stories now, that’s what’s important. I’m already over halfway through the first story, and it’s shown remarkable improvement. If I see similar improvement in the other stories, then…well, I can’t really say what’ll happen then, let alone if the collection will be published.

I even asked my Tarot cards if the collection would find a publisher after all the edits. When I pulled the future card, I got The Moon, which represents uncertainty. Which says it all, really. The writing and publishing game is full of uncertainty. You never know if you’ll find a home for your story when you send it out. Let alone collections!

Still, we play the game, because we love what we do. And I’ll continue working on these stories in the hope that I can improve them enough that someone will want to publish them in a collection.

Or, if things are going well for me, I have the cash to spend, and I think they’re edited enough, I could self-publish. It’d be quite a bit of work all on my own, for certain, but it would likely be worth it. I hope.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m going to try to finish up one story tonight, then perform a surgery on a ghost, then start editing the next story. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!


One more reminder: in honor of my ten-year blogging anniversary on Monday, I’m having an Ask Me Anything, or AMA, to celebrate. All readers are encouraged to participate, and one lucky person will receive a prize! Just send an email to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com before tomorrow night, July 28th, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST. I look forward to reading your questions!

And no, I won’t be sending the winner a dragon bat. Not even a baby one. I’m sorry, but the adults are ferocious, the babies need too much care to be separated from their parent, and the laws regarding transporting them are too much a pain in the ass to deal with. Sorry, but thems the breaks.

The common noctule bat was a big visual inspiration for the dragon bats in the story.

So, a while back, I started mentioning dragon bats on this blog and my other social media. Nothing serious, just casual mentions of releasing dragon bats when something good happens. But it apparently was more than that, because the nasty beasties stirred the imagination of friend, colleague and Follower of Fear Iseult Murphy (check out her blog here), who ended up creating fan art of the dragon bats (click here to see that art).

And for those wondering what a dragon bat is, it’s exactly as the name implies: a bat big enough to earn the descriptor “dragon.” They’re also carnivorous, aggressive, and their bite is either venomous or has lots of dangeorus pathogens in the saliva, we’re not sure. They’re like Komodo dragons, in that way.

Anyway, Iseult’s fan art inspired me in turn and I decided to create a story featuring the dragon bats. It took a bit of brainstorming, but I was eventually able to come up with a story with the nasty beasts. And this past week or two, I wrote the story, finishing it up this morning at around 4 AM.

Yeah. It’s been a while since I was up that late finishing a story. I think the last time was finishing up my novel River of Wrath around Halloween 2018.

Back to the story. The story, which I ended up naming “Disillusionment and Trauma Sometimes Go Hand in Hand” (I couldn’t think of something short and snappy, so I took a page from Stephen King and gave the story a long, ridiculous title), follows a girl who becomes an unwilling participant in a plot to get revenge for the death of her best friend. A plot that, you guessed it, involves dragon bats.

And whoo-boy, did this story end up being a crazy one! Not only is it a decent-sized novelette at 12,645 words, but it’s also got a lot going on in it. Blood, murder, revenge, a bit of torture, some creature feature and the occult. All in all, though, I think it’s a good story. Hopefully Iseult and any other beta readers I ask agree and I can find a home for it.

So, what’s next? Well, I’ve been marketing a collection of original short stories for a while now. I think I’ll take a second look at some of them and give them another round of edits before trying to find a publisher again. After that…well, we’ll see. With The Pure World Comes accepted for publication, it’ll soon be time to start editing it and that’ll take up some time. I don’t want to commit to anything knowing it might be sidelined after starting.

At least I was able to get one more story done. And like I said, it’s one hell of a story. If kind of…batty.

Oh come on, I had to make that joke! Sue me.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Until next time, pleasant nightmares and RELEASE THE DRAGON BATS!!!

Oh, and one more thing: you have ten more days to submit a question to my Ask Me Anything, or AMA. If you submit a question to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021, you’ll be eligible for a prize. This is all to celebrate ten years of blogging on this platform, so I hope you all send questions my way. Looking forward to reading them!

Damn, that title’s a mouthful!

Still, it’s the truth. In one month, on August 2nd, 2021, I will mark the ten-year anniversary of when I started this blog. And in honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I would do something fun. An Ask Me Anything, or AMA. All you Followers of Fear will have the opportunity to ask me questions and get some answers (assuming the questions are appropriate, of course).

But this isn’t just any AMA. Oh no, that would be too dull. No. This will be an AMA with a prize!

That’s right. One lucky Follower of Fear will receive a special prize for submitting a question to the AMA. And no, Iseult, it’s not a dragon bat! Not even a baby one. Trust me, even small ones would be too much for most people to handle.

Rather, this prize will be a surprise (or is that sur-prize?). You’ll have to wait till August 2nd to find out what the prize is and who the winner will be.

As for how to participate in the AMA, here are the directions. Just send an email with your question (just one question per person, mind you) and where you’re from to my email address, ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com. Use the subject “Ten Year Anniversary AMA.” Send them in by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021. Prize winner will be announced at the end of the AMA post.

Or posts, if this thing gets a lot of questions. You never know.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you’ll participate and ask some awesome, silly, mysterious, thoughtful, penetrating, strange, and/or universe-destroying questions.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

I’ve always considered that receiving fan art is one of the highest compliments you can receive as a creator, as well as a sign that you really have made it as an author, illustrator, mangaka, YouTuber, video game designer, whatever. Last week, as I was celebrating the accomplishments of both a short story and an article being accepted by various publishers, I received another reason to celebrate: fan art.

Now, you might have seen on my blog, as well as on some of my social media accounts, mentions of my dragon bats. What are the dragon bats? Well, they’re bats, obviously. They’re big enough to earn the designation dragon, with a ten-foot wingspan. They have tough skin on their bellies that looks kind of scaly. They are carnivorous, and while they don’t breathe fire, their bites are either full of potent venom or very dangerous pathogens that can kill you in minutes. Either way, they’re like Komodo dragons: they’re the biggest of their kind, we’re not sure what’s in their bite, and we have to be very careful while finding out. And they have dragon in the name, though neither are proper dragons (Komodo dragons are actually the largest species of monitor lizards).

Also, a group of dragon bats is known as a coven. Just worth mentioning.

Anyway, the mention of my beautiful dragon bats inspired the artistic side of a particular Follower of Fear, my friend and fellow author Iseult Murphy. Before I knew it, she’d created a couple of pieces of fan art featuring her interpretation of the dragon bats. The first, which I received Friday, is below.

Pretty neat, huh? As you can see, I am on the right unleashing my dragon bats on what I can only assume is either a hapless victim or one of my noisier neighbors (I have a few, unfortunately). Said victim has lost their head while blood spurts out, which the dragon bats are slurping up. And at the top of the picture is “Congrats,” referring to my story and article being accepted.

Obviously, I loved it, so I went ahead and shared it across my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles. Besides being from a friend, I was flattered that anyone was interested enough to create art based on my ideas and stories. And it was good artwork too, to boot.

Then yesterday, I got another surprise from Iseult. She made another piece of fan art!

I like this one too. It shows three dragon bats on a branch having a nap after gorging on blood and meat from helpless victims. I love the sheer amount of detail in this picture. The branches have a lot of detail you would expect from tree branches in real life, and I love how all three have different colors and characteristics. Kind of like Danaerys Targaryen’s dragon babies.

I love this artwork too, and obviously spread it around the social media channels too. And, as you can see, I decided to post both pieces here on my blog so they could be appreciated by a wider audience. But I also got to thinking. If the dragon bats were getting fan art, I should really write them into a story. Maybe give Iseult and other potential readers something for their creatives sides to cogitate on.

And yesterday, I did come up with a story. A short story or novelette featuring the dragon bats that I might work on later this year. It’ll be dark, creepy, and yes, very bloody and gory. And don’t worry Iseult, I’ll let you beta read it when it’s done. I won’t put you into the story, however. I only do that to people who have really wronged me in the past.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Iseult’s interpretations of the dragon bats. If you see one or a coven in the future, please find some sort of shelter and hide, because they are vicious. And if you want to check out Iseult’s blog, which you can find here, I recommend you do. She does great fiction reviews and publishes her own dark and creepy fiction as well.

And thanks again for the fan art, Iseult. It means a lot to me and makes me really feel like I’ve made it as an author. I hope my strange ideas and stories continue to inspire you and many other creators in the future.


One last thing: I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but ParaPsyCon will be held this coming weekend, May 22nd and 23rd, at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. This is the biggest convention of authors, ghost hunters, psychics and mediums, and more around, at one of America’s most historic and haunted prisons. Cost of admission is one ticket for a self-guided tour of the prison, $25. I’ll be there selling copies of my books, reading Tarot, and hopefully having fun, so stop by if you can and say hi. More information on the website here.

Also, I’ll be in Chicago for Indie Author Book Expo Chicago at the Quarry Chi on June 19th, 2021. This is a small expo of an eclectic gathering of authors, so you’re bound to find something there that’s up your alley. So if you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi. You can find out more information on the website here.

And if you’re unable to make either of those events but still want to support me, I’ve got links to my books below. Please consider checking them out and, if you like what you read, please consider leaving a review somewhere. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me, as well as other readers looking for something to read, in the long run.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have to go feed my coven of dragon bats and then work on some of my side projects. Until next time, stay safe, hope to see you soon, and pleasant nightmares!

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.