Posts Tagged ‘drug addiction’

Video Rage

I can’t believe how fast a single week can go. And I’m happy to say that Video Rage‘s first week has been very successful. Already a lot of people are getting copies of it, and even sales of Reborn City, the first book in the trilogy, has picked up a bit. This makes me really happy because it lets me know that people are very interested in reading these creations of mine.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Reborn City and Video Rage (and you must be really new here if that’s the case), they’re the first two books in the science fiction trilogy I’ve been writing since high school. The series follows Zahara Bakur, a Muslim teenager living in a dystopian future, and how her life changes drastically when she is forced to join the Hydras, a rising street gang in the western projects of the Vegas-style city-state Reborn City. Once in the Hydras, she learns that the gang’s leaders have amazing powers and abilities, and that there’s some connection between them and Reborn City’s mysterious leaders. The events that occur in the aftermath of these revelations will not only shape the lives of Zahara and her friends, but perhaps change the world.

When the first book came out back in 2013 (yeah, it took me three years to get the second book out. I was busy with school and work and a few other things), I was gladdened by how much people liked it. Indeed, those who left reviews had some very nice things to say:

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 K

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 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 N

Gangland violence, superhero-like enhancements, a futuristic setting, and social commentary that stems from a semi-post-apocalyptic theme. And then there’s a story where people come together as a family to deal with mutual loss and tragedy. What’s not to like?

–Matthew S. Williams, author of Whiskey Delta and Pappa Zulu

That last one was especially important for me, because it came from an author friend whom I admire a lot.

So yeah, people have enjoyed the first book. And I’m hoping that with the second book, people have similar reactions. With sequels, I try to include the parts that worked, improve or fix the parts that didn’t, and overall expand the world and action in the story without just adding more explosions and some flimsy plot a la Michael Bay (there are explosions here and there, but they’re definitely not excessive).

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

I also hope that people take the main theme of the book series to heart. A lot of the characters have been through a lot, and have been told that they are good for only one thing, usually not something good. The series follows them as they realize that they can be better than what people think they’re good for. I’m hoping that a lot of readers will find that theme applies to their own lives and that they take it to heart.

If you wish to check out Reborn City and Video Rage, I’ll include the links below. I hope you enjoy the stories, should you decide to check them out, and that whatever your thoughts, positive or negative, you let me know. I love getting feedback from readers, and it makes me a better writer to begin with.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear. Happy reading!

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

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

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I came home from the grocery story just a little while ago, and logged into my email after I put the groceries away. I was surprised and pleased to see an email from my fabulous editor, Britney Thompson Mills, with her marks and remarks on the third draft of Video Rage. You know what that means! One more draft and we begin the publication process!

Now if you don’t know what Video Rage is, it’s the sequel to my first novel, Reborn City.  And if you don’t know what Reborn City is, it’s the story of street gangs in a dystopian city-state in Earth’s near future, and a conspiracy involving the leaders of a rising gang known as the Hydras and the leaders of the city. The novel features themes of Islamaphobia, racism, drug addiction, gang violence, and overcoming other people’s expectations. It’s also a bit more realistic than other dystopian stories, with problems that mirror problems of today’s world, and a society that you can actually imagine forming.

Reborn City, my very first published novel.

Reborn City, my very first published novel.

The sequel to Reborn City, Video Rage, follows the Hydras soon after the end of the first novel, as they face the same problems made that much worse, and deal with new threats that are intent on taking their lives. I’ve been working on VR since my third year of college, and I’m glad to see that we’re finally just one step away from publication. So I’ll take a break from working on Rose–I’ve only gotten a tiny bit of that edited, anyway, so no big deal–and get through VR as fast as my little fingers can type.

In fact, I think I’ll start tonight! Look forward to seeing a post with a release date some time in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, why not check out Reborn City? A lot of people have told me that they really enjoyed reading the book, and that they cannot wait to read VR. So if you think it sounds interesting and want to check the novel out, you can find copies in paperback and e-book from Amazon, Createspace, and Smashwords. And whatever your thoughts, please let me know what you think. Review, comment, I love some good feedback, and I would love to hear yours.

And if you’re an author looking for someone to edit your book, why not check out Britney’s website? She’s got great skills and she’ll give your book the touch-up it needs. I speak from personal experience, and I highly recommend her.

That’s all for now. See you in a few hours, when it’s Friday (you know what that means). I’m off to edit!

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Yesterday I went to meet with some folks who I know through MAX, a program that helps and supports young professionals in my area. MAX has regular meet ups and events throughout the week, and on Fridays we meet at the local Starbucks to have coffee (or in my case, hot chocolate) and talk. This week’s meeting was especially interesting though, because someone brought a copy of The Quiet Game.

Now if you’re unfamiliar, The Quiet Game was the first book I ever published, a collection of five original short stories I wrote in late 2012 and early 2013. The woman who runs the MAX program, Angela, has been reading some of my work and brought the copy of The Quiet Game she borrowed from my sister (she’s part of MAX too). She also brought her laptop, because Angela wanted to leave a review on Amazon but had never done one before and she wanted me to show her how.

After solving some Wi-Fi problems (honestly, for a major coffee shop chain, Starbucks has some really terrible wireless service), I showed Angela how to leave a review, which she did right there and then in the coffee shop, giving The Quiet Game a five star review. Here’s what she had to say:

Addict is insanely AWESOME! The use of 2nd person language convicts the reader. One second you are relaxing with a short story, the next moment you are engaging in explicit sexual addiction… whoa!
Rami has a way of writing perspectives that is wise beyond his years…

“Addict” is a short story about a man with sex addiction trying to go clean. It’s told in the second person, so that’s why you’re the one who’s engaging in explicit sexual addiction.

I also noticed during this time that I had a review from September that I’d totally missed (how did that happen?) from someone named SavoirNoir, who gave The Quiet Game four stars and titled her review Decent collection of tales. Here’s what this reviewer had to say:

This is a serviceable set of stories. The best one is not the titular title story. I only really have two issues with the collection. One of them is the notes after the story. I never really liked the self-indulgence of the writer explaining afterwards. To be fair, that could be just me.

The best story in my opinion is the Lady Orgres Den. That one had great tension.

This reviewer is talking about “In The Lady Ogre’s Den”, about an autistic boy’s terrifying stay in a hospital after an accident. And speaking of that story, Angela, the very same woman who’d brought my sister’s copy to Starbucks with her, asked me to do a reading right there and then for the entire group.

Well, you know me. I love an audience and I love opportunities to get more people to read my work, so I agreed and ending up reading “In The Lady Ogre’s Den” to them. So for about the next twenty minutes or so, I read them the story. And you know what? Most of them listened. They were actually rapt with attention, making comments or praising my writing style or how I get into the mind of an autistic child. I don’t know if any of them will end up getting the book or any of the other books I’ve written, but by the end of it they were very impressed.

Which is my goal, of course. As you know, the subtitle of this blog is “Scared yet? My job here is done.” I also put that on my business cards, because it’s the truth. I want people to be scared and entertained, to enjoy my work and be enchanted and thrilled while reading it. Getting feedback like that is very gratifying for me, and while my throat was dry from non-stop talking by the end of the reading, I was very glad I’d agreed to Angela’s request and been able to pull these folks into a story for a little while.

And if reading this post made you want to check out The Quiet Game, by all means please do so. It’s a fun, creepy collection of stories, and it’s short too, so if you don’t want a long book this might be up your alley. You can get it both in paperback and in e-book by check it out on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. And if you enjoyed reading the book, please let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love feedback, and I would love to hear yours.

That’s all for now. I might take a few days off to just do stuff other than blogging. However, if anything worth reporting comes up, you can expect me to let you guys know as soon as possible. Have a good day, my Followers of Fear!

I was going to wait a little longer to announce this, but I’ve already announced it on Facebook and Twitter, so I’d be a bit of an ass if I didn’t let you guys know. As you can tell from the title of this post, after about five months of job searching and wondering how long this period of unemployment will last, I’ve finally been given a new job!

To be more specific, it’s another three-month internship with the United States Armed Forces. Instead of the Army though, I’ll be working with the Air Force. Instead of the Equal Employment Opportunity office, I’ll be working in their legal office doing customer support work (more on that later if it’s allowed), and I’ll be working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base here in my home state of Ohio, rather than halfway across the world. Not that I wouldn’t love to travel to Europe again, but I think it’ll cost a bit less money to go and live near work this time (especially without having to buy really expensive plane tickets! Those were a real drain on my bank account).

To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether or not I should take this internship when it was offered to me. Five months into a job search, and I was still holding out for a permanent, full-time job. But I asked for a day to think about it, and after talking about it with some people and thinking about it, I realized that while I had job history, I only had so much history and job skills, and that could be a huge barrier in getting me a permanent job. Doing this internship would change that, it would give me a few more skills and some income while I was at it. And while I worked, I could continue the job search without having to worry about my finances drying up (and maybe get out of my dad’s house while I’m at it). So I decided to take it, and I’ve been on a high ever since.

And honestly, I needed this high*. These months of unemployment have been some of the worse in my life, and they only got worse as they went on. There were days I sat on my bed at home, looking for jobs and filling out applications, hoping against hope for a phone call or an email and feeling lower than the earth when none came. Plus there was the occasional friction between me and the folks, which happens when several people are living in one house and at least one or two wish they or others were living elsewhere. Add in the bank account slowly losing income every month, the feeling of being useless if you’re not bringing in money, and a few other things (possibly the winter blues?), and you’ve got a slight case of situation-based depression.

Now that I’ve accepted a job, I’m definitely not going to be feeling that down anymore. We’re aiming for an April 1st start date (since I previously worked for the Armed Forces, the background check and everything else should be much quicker than last year), so in the meantime I’m going to be looking for a place to sublease or do a rent by the month thing, as well as doing whatever else I can to make sure I have a wonderful and productive time in my new position. Hopefully by the time I show up for work, it will all fall into place and I’ll have a blast being there.

In the meantime, I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get this far. My family and friends, and all my supporters online and in-person for making me feel loved and making sure I never gave up. Jewish Family Services of Columbus for their invaluable support and advice they gave me while I searched, and their MAX program for Young Professionals for giving me excuses to socialize and get out of the house. The Big Guy Upstairs, because I like to think that He has a Hand in all the good stuff that happens in my life. And…well, you know. Thanks. I could not have done this without all of you.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. It’s getting late, so I’ll be signing off now. Expect another post from me in the next day or two, I’ve got more stuff to post about here that I’m eager to share with you. Until then, have a great weekend!

* This is not encouragement to do drugs. Rami Ungar does not endorse the use of any sort of narcotic substance. Even marijuana. That stuff will mess with you in seriously bad ways.

How many of you are fans of my first novel, Reborn City? I’m hoping a lot of you are thinking to yourselves “I am!” or “It’s something I’ve been meaning to check out”, because I’ve got some good news for you! As you know, I’ve been editing RC‘s sequel Video Rage on and off since I finished the first draft, and that I wanted to have another editor take a look at it before I get it published and into your hands.

Well, here’s where the good news comes in: I met an editor through one of my writing groups on Facebook who was willing to work within my budget. Her name is Britney Mills, and can I just say, she does great work and a fast turnaround? She read through RC within a few weeks, and then read through VR within a similar amount of time. I was like, “WOW!” And she does amazing work. I looked over three of VR‘s chapters last night with her corrections, and it’s all solid suggestions and points. Definitely what I was looking for in an editor.

So now that I have a third party’s feedback on VR, I’m going to dive right into editing tonight, making corrections and thinking about Britney’s suggestions. After I’ve done all that (and hopefully that won’t take more than a few weeks), I’ll send it back to Britney for her to take another look at. Once she gets back to me and any other problems she finds are corrected, I’m going to say “Done!” with VR, send it off to the copyright office, have a cover designed, and once all that’s taken care of, set a release date.

In short, Video Rage will be published sometime later this year.

Yeah, exciting news, right? Especially for my three biggest fans of the first book (aka my mother, my sister, and my stepmom). I can’t be more exact on a release date, but I’m hoping for a summer release. And I promise you, it’s going to be good. Britney told me in her email from last night that one of the things she liked about VR is that it “did a great job of keeping things interesting but not letting me guess ahead of time what is going to happen”. I think that’s a very good sign.

Reborn City

Reborn City

So if you’re looking forward to Video Rage and are tired of the wait, you can start getting ready for more adventures of the Hydras. And if at all you’re now interested in reading the first book Reborn City, it’s available from Amazon, Createspace, and Smashwords. From what people tell me, it’s my most popular book right now, and it’s not hard to see why. The story follows Zahara Bakur, a Muslim teenager in the dystopian city-state of Reborn City as she’s forced to join an interracial street gang known as the Hydras for protection. It’s a great book that includes themes of gang violence, racism and Islamaphobia, drug addiction, and many others (and if you’re tired of dystopian fiction that you can’t imagine actually happening in the world, like Hunger Games or Divergent, you might find RC more appealing).

And if you’re an author looking for an outside party to take a look at your book and make sure it’s up to scratch, I highly recommend Britney’s services. She gives great feedback, does a quick turn around, and I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for her help. You can check out her website, Writing Unblocked, if you like for more information.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got a few things to take care of today before I start editing, so I’m going to get on that. As more news comes in, I’ll make sure to update you. Have a good one, everybody!

Oh, and if any of you do decide to read Reborn City, make sure to let me know what you think, either in a comment or a review online. Positive or negative, I love feedback, and it helps me become a better writer in the end. Thanks!