Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

It’s hard to believe that a number of things are happening today (believe me, I’m still pinching myself). But among those things, one of them is something I’d like to bring up here, and that’s today is the fourth anniversary of the publication of my second novel, Snake, the cover of which is over there.

Now if you’re unfamiliar with Snake, let me tell you about it. I was between books in the Reborn City series, and I wanted to write something a bit closer to my native horror instead of some more sci-fi. I’d had an idea a while back, partially inspired by the movie Taken and slasher films of the 1980’s, and spent about six months writing it in 2013. The result was Snake, which was published June 10th, 2014.

Here is the blurb on the back cover of the novel:

How far will you go for love and revenge? When a young man’s girlfriend is kidnapped by the powerful Camerlengo Family, he becomes the Snake, a serial killer who takes his methods from the worst of the Russian mafia. Tracking down members of the Camerlengo Family one by one for clues, the Snake will go to any lengths to see the love of his life again…even if it means becoming a worse monster than any of the monsters he is hunting.

I was pretty nervous about this novel when it came out. While it was one of the easiest for me to write, it was also one of the most violent stories I’d ever written, and I had no idea what people would think when they read it. Also,– I was still a college student, fresh off my first trip to Europe, and had only just become legally able to drink in the United States, so I was wondering if people would notice how inexperienced a person I was with the story.

To my delight though, people who read the book tended to enjoy it. At the moment, it has seven reviews on Amazon, with the average rating a very nice 4.4 out of 5. Here’s what some of them had to say:

I really enjoyed this book. When I selected “dark” for the mood, it was almost a toss up with suspenseful. You knew early on who the mafia killer was, but the question of how he was going to find his girlfriend and rescue her was suspenseful. I ended up choosing “dark” because of the level of violence our main character used in getting to the girlfriend. But he was a complex character. Even though he definitely had the dark side to him, there was a surprisingly good side to him, too. You don’t really see this until later on in the book. So early on, you might think this is an unredeemable character. But one of the most intriguing characters are those who aren’t what they initially seem, and for this reason, I enjoyed this character. The pacing was just right. It wasn’t rushed, and in no way did I ever feel it dragged, which is awesome for a book that was over 500 pages in paperback.

This book is violent, and it contains sexual situations. Some of it can be cringeworthy. So I wouldn’t suggest this for young readers. I’d recommend this only to adults. If it was a movie, it would be a strong R. There’s also swearing. These things don’t bother me as a reader, but I know it bothers some, which is why I mention it. But if you don’t mind these elements, I think you will enjoy this book. It’s a great thriller.

–Ruth Ann Nordin, author of Marriage by Contract

A very good read. The mixture of horror and suspense were on point. I now want to read more of Ramis great books.

–Sherri

Rami Ungar makes a promise to (the reader) in all his writings: he WILL scare you, and if he does “his job is done.” Snake will scare you. I am a huge Stephen King fan, so this should give you some idea of my tolerance level for gore, death and mayhem – I was scared. Rami takes you into places you would never have believed possible, and manages to pull his hero (and eventually his heroine) out of them against all odds. If you like to be scared. If you LOVE to be scared. You should read this book.

–Angela Misri, author of Jewel of the Thames

Being compared to Stephen King always makes me giddy.

Anyway, this novel still has a special place in my heart. It was a real form of experimentation for me in terms of writing with violence, writing thriller fiction, and writing a sex scene (that didn’t get cut out of the final draft), among other things. And I’m still open to returning to that story and writing a sequel someday. Maybe two, depending on a number of factors.

And if you’d lie to check out Snake and maybe see if it’s up your alley, I’ll include the links to check it out below. And if you do decide to get a copy and read it, please let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love receiving feedback from readers, and if you leave a review on Amazon or another site, it helps me in the long run by letting other people know what you think and helping them decide whether or not to check out the book.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have a big day ahead of me, so I’ll talk to you all later. Until next time, pleasant nightmares.

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A portrait of King Arthur by Charles Ernest Butler. Probably not what he looked like at all.

So this is a bit outside my normal wheelhouse, but I decided to write a post about it because I’m all fired up about the subject (and really, isn’t that the reason we write anything anywhere?).

Recently, I’ve become very interested in King Arthur. Specifically, I wanted to know whether or not he was real, and how this whole story of him, Merlin, Lancelot and Guinevere, his sister/lover Morgan le Fay and his nephew/bastard son Mordred came to be. I mean, do we really believe a guy who didn’t know he was the bastard son of the previous king was taught by a magician, pulled a sword from a stone, had an idyllic kingdom stretching across Europe for a few years, only for it to be undone by his affair with his sister and his wife’s affair with one of his knights, to be gospel historical fact? I wanted to know the truth, and I wanted to know it as in-depth as possible.

This new obsession of mine started after one of the YouTube channels I follow, Overly Sarcastic Productions, produced a video about Arthur lore, and how that got built up over the past fifteen-hundred years (click here to watch the video, as well as here for their follow-up on some of Arthur’s lesser-known knights). These laid the groundwork for me to get interested in the subject, and to want to find out a bit more. From there, I downloaded a lecture  series from The Great Courses company (college level lecture series you can listen to while you work or drive. Definitely check them out, they’re very informative) on Arthur, narrated by Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, and an expert on the subject of Arthuriana.

If you don’t have time to watch either video or to listen to Professor Armstrong’s lecture series (though you should at least spend a half hour on that first video), let me do my best to put it really simply: probably ninety-five percent of what you think you know about King Arthur is complete and utter fiction. There’s some evidence to suggest that during the late 5th and early 6th century, the invasion of the Saxons in England was stopped and in some places reversed, keeping the peace for a few generations, and that someone probably lead a war effort that caused that peace.

This figure was probably the basis of Arthur. The name Arthur, by the way, doesn’t appear until after this time period, but then becomes quite widespread among Bretons. This possibly means that the name “Arthur” wasn’t this figure’s real name, but maybe an acronym, abbreviation, or nickname based on a Celtic or Latin name. A number of figures listed in history annals from around or after that time have been pointed to as possibly the inspiration for Arthur, but documentation from that time is scarce, so no one really knows if any of these figures were Arthur or given that name as a title or nickname.

So, Arthur was possibly real. We’re not sure, because there’s only so much evidence. He could be as made up as Harry Potter, and was a folklore character adapted by the Bretons for their current predicament.

Pages from the Historia regum Britanniae, the first King Arthur bestseller ever written.

At the very least, the legend of Arthur cemented itself and grew over time. From a local warlord to king of all the Bretons, and then other elements started getting added on, such as Merlin, who was probably based on a mad bard who lived a couple of centuries after the Arthur figure. Eventually, a man by the name of Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote this huge book called Historia regum Brittaniae, a pseudo-history of Britain that dealt quite a bit with Arthur. It was spread across the European continent, where other writers from as far as Italy, Scandinavia, and Russia started adding their own spins on Arthur’s story and adding their own elements. These elements include Lancelot, who was the invention of a French writer, Excalibur and the Holy Grail, and Mordred being Arthur’s incestuous offspring. And as years passed, storytellers just kept adding elements and remixing the already-available tales until we have all the Arthur stories available today.

It’s like what might happen if, a thousand years from now, George Washington was known as Walsh; his historicity was debated; he was credited not only with defeating the British but conquering the entire continental United States; had Superman’s powers; and was taught by Mark Twain, who’s been combined with Nikola Tesla and has lightning powers.

Yeah, kind of crazy. Also a huge simplification, but it’s a blog post. What do you expect of me?

Like I said, anyone can add to the Arthur canon. Doesn’t mean it’ll be good.

Anyway, it’s just mind-blowing how great an influence one man who may or may not have existed and probably only ruled a small area of land if he did exist has had on Western society. Most likely, if you’ve lived anywhere English culture has reached, you’ve heard something about Arthur. You just probably never realized that there was so much debate around him or there’s no real canon about him, because so much about him is in flux from storyteller to storyteller.

It’s also very inspiring, in a way. You can write almost any sort of story about Arthur, and it can be considered part of the canon (whether or not it’s any good though, is left up to the storytellers and their audiences). The possibilities are kind of endless, as long as you keep an open mind. I’ve already had an idea for a short story involving the historical Arthur figure and the subsequent works written about him. I plan to write it at some point this year and then submit it to my publisher, Castrum Press, for one of their anthologies (they’re doing some anthologies, BTW. Check them out here if you’re interested. All are welcome to submit). Hopefully it gets accepted, and maybe some people will like it. We’ll see.

Whatever you know or believe about Arthur, it’s undeniable that he’s had an influence on the world. His legend is constantly growing, morphing, and mutating. And all from one man, a man we don’t even know if he was real or not. It’s definitely a mind-boggling, cool, and inspiring subject, and I’m so glad I decided to dive into it.

I hope, if anything, this post makes you curious enough to dive in too.

My writing space

My writing space

As many of you know, I’ve been living in my own space for a little over a month, and I’ve been working at my new job for about the same amount of time. I’d been wanting to move into my own place for ages after I moved back in with my dad, but it took a paying job to finally make it happen (hopefully the job keeps going for quite a while). And I love it here. I can do my own thing (which is actually pretty weird, truth be told) without having to hold back for other people; I can cook my own meals, including some fun meat recipes (my dad’s a vegetarian, so I’m having a blast expanding my chicken recipes); and I finally have my own spot where I write my stories, something I haven’t had in years. Plus the neighbors are quiet and I’m in a pretty nice partof the neighborhood, so it’s pleasant to live here. And close to work, too. I’m happy about that.

There are only three things I can really complain about:

  • Laundry is almost as expensive as it was in my college dorm. Maybe more.
  • I don’t have a dishwasher, so I have to hand-wash everything. That’s not so bad, but when you’re sure you’ve scrubbed something as hard as possible, and then you find there’s some grease left…
  • As far as I know, my building isn’t haunted in any way, shape, or form. Yes, I consider that a con. It’s a minor con, but it’s a con, nonetheless.

On a somewhat related tangent, I took an AP Psychology course in my last year of high school, and I actually remember quite a bit from that class. One was that some very interesting things happen when you move house or change jobs, mentally. You are better able to break bad habits (though I can’t seem to lose my sweet tooth, no matter what I do), and something in your brain frees up, allowing for the easy formation of new habits and routines, and even heightened creativity.

Well, I’m definitely doing that heightened creativity thing pretty well. In fact, I haven’t been this creative since my first time in Europe! Since I moved into my new apartment, I’ve had a multitude of new ideas, and I’ve gotten even more ideas since I started working at my job. They’ve mostly been short stories, which are the most common ideas I have (and the ones I struggle with the most to get right, weirdly enough), but I’ve had a couple of novel ideas as well, really good ones. Like, really good. Like, the kind that I think people will compare to Stephen King novels someday, really good. I had one of those the other day while putting away my groceries. I was pulling Dr. Pepper out of a box and onto the top shelf (I think I formed a new bad habit, over consuming caffeinated sodas. What can I say? I need caffeine to get through work some days), and I had this idea for a story involving an actress and reincarnation. And I was like, “That’s a good idea. It could work.”

Ouroboros, a symbol of reincarnation to some. I may try to integrate it into that story idea I had.

Of course, with the many ideas I’ve had over the past six weeks or so, I’ve had less time for actually writing and editing. I’ve been working on Rose for a couple of weeks, but I’ve only gotten through Chapter 2 so far. I think that’s partly because I’m rewriting a lot of the first couple chapters based on the suggestions I got from my advisor and second reader after the second draft (and that’s a lot of material to work with), but on most weekdays I only have a couple of hours to write. Once I get home, I check my email and everything else I didn’t have access to while at work, I make and eat my dinner, I make a lunch for tomorrow, I shower. Anytime left over is for writing, editing, or blogging before I go to bed (unless I have to make a midweek shopping trip to the grocery store or something. Then I have even less time).

Honestly, I wish I could divide myself in two during the day. One Rami stays home and works on the stories, the other goes to work and gets the assignments done.

Yeah, I know. Bad idea. One Rami Ungar is a sign of the Apocalypse. Two of me would surely cause calamity and discord just by our very existence (kind of like a certain American presidential candidate I could name).

But I digress. The point is, these new environments re getting my brain going, giving me all sorts of ideas for stories that I hope to write as soon as possible. In the meantime, I’ll keep working, and I’ll keep riding this creativity wave for as long as possible.

And I hope that you all get to enjoy the ideas I come up with during this period someday. I would very much like that indeed.

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.

Last year I made a list of haunted places I wanted to visit before I died and became a ghost (and yes, I plan on becoming a ghost. If you don’t buy at least one of my books and leave a review, I WILL haunt you!). Since I made that list (and visited the location I most wanted to see), I’ve come across a few more haunted places I’d like to visit. So I did what any good horror writer with a blog who believes in ghosts would do: I wrote a list and now I’m transcribing it down here.

This list isn’t in any particular order, and they span all over the United States, Mexico and even parts of Europe (parts I’m nowhere near at the moment, unfortunately). I hope you enjoy it, and that if this list or the previous one influences your travel plans in any way, shape or form, it’s in a positive way.

BOO!

1. Island of the Dolls

Location: Xochimilico, Mexico

Located in Xochimilico’s extensive canal network is La Isla de la Munecas, or the Island of the Dolls. According to the history of the place, a hermit named Julian Santana Barrera lived on one of the chinampas, or artificial islands, in the canals. One day, Barrera found the body of a girl who drowned in the canals, and was reportedly hit very hard by it (some locals believe a water spirit was responsible for the girl’s death). Not too long after that, Barrera started finding dolls around the island, and hanging them up all over the place, on tree branches and in his own hut. He said it was because the dead girl hung around, so he was giving her a whole playground of friends, and to keep evil spirits away as well (the water spirit, perhaps?). Over the years hundreds of dolls were hung up, leading to the island’s nickname. Even after Barrera died in 2001, the dolls still hang about, some of which are purported to talk or walk around on their own. The place has been investigated by ghost hunters with some interesting results.

If I ever get to Mexico, I’m heading there. Ghosts and spirits and creepy dolls? Sounds like fun.

2. The Villisca Ax Murder House

Location: Villisca, Iowa

Properly known as the Josiah B. and Sara Moore House, this charming little house was the spot of a brutal ax murder in 1912 on eight people, the Moores, their four children, and two young friends of the children. Several suspects were considered for the murder, and one was even tried and let off twice, but so far the murders remain unsolved. Since then, there have been several reported hauntings of the place, including seeing shadows of a man wielding an ax, children crying, and other freaky stuff. One family reportedly left the house screaming one night and never returned. Since 1994, the house has been a museum dedicated to its dark history, and several ghost-hunting crews, including the Ghost Adventures Crew, have investigated the house, finding some very interesting evidence. This is definitely a place I’d like to visit.

Villisca also happens to be the town where my friend and colleague Joleene Naylor lives. So Joleene, if I ever make it out to Villisca, I hope you wouldn’t mind showing me around for a day. It’ll be a spooktacular good time.

3. Sedlec Ossuary

Location: Sedlec, Czech Republic

What looks like the Paris catacombs but is above ground and is part of a working church? The Sedlec Ossuary, located beneath the titular town’s Cemetary Church of All Saints. In the 13th century the abbot of the local monastery visited the Holy Land and brought back with him some dirt he’d picked up while over there and sprinkled it around the abbey cemetery. This made it a premiere spot to get buried and, along with the number of people dying of the Black Plague, caused the cemetery to be expanded several times. Of course, there was no way to keep up with that many bodies, and in the 16th century bodies were exhumed and their bones stacked inside the cathedral that had grown up around the spot. In the 19th century a woodcarver was hired to take the bones, roughly 40,000 to 70,000 bones’ worth of skeletons, in order, which he did, creating several macabre furnishings, decorations, and religious objects out of human remains. As you can imagine, this place has become quite the tourist destination, and ghost sightings or photos are not unheard of.

Sounds like my kind of furniture-shopping destination.

4. Leap Castle, Massy Woods, Montpelier Hill, The Stewards House, and Loftus Hall

Location: All over Ireland

I couldn’t leave these off the list, and they’re all in Ireland, so I figured, why not just group them as one big entry/tour of the nation? Leap Castle has a history of dark and mysterious deaths, almost like something out of a Shakespeare tragedy, and is also reportedly the home of an elemental spirit that hides in a pit deep in the castle. Montpelier Hill is the home of the Irish counterpart of the Hellfire Club, which supposedly did some very strange rituals, possibly Satanic ones. There’s even a story of the devil actually visiting the premises one evening.

Down the road from the Hellfire Club Lodge is the Massy Woods, which supposedly have several different kinds of spirits within, including a banshee, and the Steward’s House, which is said to be frequented by a demonic cat. If you look at a painting of the cat the wrong way, or if you hang it up wrong, you might bring something malevolent upon yourself.

And Loftus Hall is supposedly the most haunted house in all of Ireland. As the story goes, in the 18th century the Loftus family went on vacation, and the Tottenham family, consisting of a father, a mother, and a daughter, came to take care of the place. During their stay a ship broke on the coast nearby and a man from the ship came to stay at the mansion. During this time the man and the Tottenham daughter Anne became quite close. One night, during a game of cards in the aptly named Card Room, Anne dropped a card under the table. When she went to retrieve it, she discovered their guest had a cloven hoof. When she pointed this out in alarm, the man supposedly flew through the ceiling, leaving a nasty hole where he went, and was never seen from again. To this day people claim that the devil stayed at Loftus Hall, and that the hole he left through has never properly been repaired, that part of the ceiling is different from the rest.

Anne herself later went mad and was confined in the Tapestry room, where she died some time later. Years later a child’s skeleton was found in a hole in the Tapestry Room, leading to speculation that Anne had a baby while in confinement and that it was killed because it was a bastard and the possibly the devil’s spawn. Since these strange events, the house has been the site of poltergeist activity and visions of Anne walking down hallways looking for her lover. There have been several exorcisms performed on site over the years, which have only done so much to quell the spirits in this haunted place.

In any case, I’d like to make a trip to see these places!

5. Grand Canyon Caverns

Location: Peach Springs, Arizona

In the 1920’s, Walter Peck (not the actor) discovered a deep hole that went underground for quite a distance, in both depth and length, and discovered some skeletons down there while he was at it. He quickly turned the cavern into a tourist attraction, saying the bones he’d found there (and which were removed for scientific study) were of cavemen. Turns out they were Native American, but that never stopped the tourism industry.

Today, the caverns are a popular tourist spot with a restaurant, hotel, and museum. You can even tour the caverns and even stay overnight down there in an equipped hotel suite if you wish. Just be aware that you might be sharing the caverns with some Native American spirits who are upset about having their burial grounds disturbed by tourists. They may throw rocks at you.

When can I make my reservation?

6. The Bell Witch Cave

Location: Adams, Tennessee

This is one of those locations where people, even ghost hunters, are on the fence about the veracity of the reported hauntings. According to the legends, the Bell family lived in the area in the early 19th century and came under attack by a witch (though the events described sound more like a poltergeist or a malevolent spirit). Supposedly the witch did everything from tapping on walls, pinching people and other harmless stuff to full-on assaulting family members and even appearing as a creature that was half-dog, half-rabbit and all black. She makes a certain cave her home and will attack anyone who takes rocks or shows disrespect in her cave, hence the name “Bell Witch Cave.”

The thing about this legend is that all sources about the witch come several years after the Bells are supposed to have lived in the area. Even secondhand witnesses would’ve died out by the time the earliest known sources of the legend were published. Regardless, there have been reports of people being attacked by spirits after visiting and occasionally taking rocks from the cave, and there are rumors that the cave may have held some spiritual significance to local Native Americans. And a few paranomrla groups have investigated the cave with interesting results.

Whatever the case may be, this is definitely a place where I would like to visit and maybe see for myself if there’s any truth to the stories. Just as long as it doesn’t come home with me, I don’t think the witch would like Ohio winters.

7. Bannack Ghost Town

Location: Bannack, Montana

Ghost towns. There’s something about a town that’s totally been abandoned, something so…enchanting. So is the case with Bannack, which was founded in the 1860’s during a gold rush, but died out in the 1970’s. Today, the town is mostly a tourist attraction, once a year being revitalized for a festival called Bannack Days that recalls the time when it was a boom town and the seat of the county.

The rest of the year though, the town is populated by spirits. Some say that the sheriff ran a gang that killed anyone who looked at them the wrong way, making for a rather lawless town and for the events that would cause several hauntings. There is also reports of the ghost of a drowned girl being sighted, and even following people home.

Sounds like a good excuse to visit Montana, if you ask me. It even inspired a scary story I’d like to write someday. Better get some firsthand experience, right?

8. Linda Vista Hospital

Location: Los Angeles, California

Originally a hospital for railroad workers, the hospital saw a definite decline as the railroad industry and the neighborhood changed. The number of deaths increased, mainly ones associated with gang violence. With most of their patients being uninsured or under-insured, the hospital was forced to close its doors in 1991. Today, part of the hospital has been renovated into an assisted living facility, while the rest is a frequent set for movies and TV shows and a historic landmark.

However, some patients are said to have never left the building, and there have been multiple investigations into the hospital’s paranormal residents. To which I say, “Nurse, I’ve got a bad case of ghost obsession! Can I stay overnight for monitoring?”

Also influenced an idea for a story I had a while back. Hope I get to write that too.

9. Targoviste and Hundeora Castles

Location: Romania

These were the castles where Dracula lived. The former is where he impaled over two-thousand of his enemies, while the latter was where he was imprisoned for seven years of his life. It’s said at one of these that some Satanists did a ritual and ever since weird stuff has happened. Don’t know if that’s true, but it’s Dracula, so I have to check it out.

And then I will have some blood! Mwa ha ha!

10. Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Location: Paris, France

I did not know about this cemetery when I visited Paris last year, or I would have made an effort to visit it. One of Paris’s most famous cemeteries, it has flowers, graves and mausoleums that look like little houses or very interesting sculptures, and its fair share of famous folk, from Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison. There’s actually a waiting list to be buried there, and if your family doesn’t renew the lease on your burial plot every thirty years or so, they dig you up and put someone else in your place.

Over the years, plenty of ghosts have been reported around the graveyard, including famous folks, Morrison himself, and even a few wandering lovers. As someone who visited the Paris catacombs and loved it, this seems like my sort of place. Vive le cemeteries francais!

Have you been to any of these places? What were your experiences like?

I’ve entered my last month of this internship. It’s been a crazy time here in Germany, working with the US Army Civilian Corps in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. And it’s been fun, and a learning experience too. Sure, it wasn’t always easy, and there were times that really tested me. But overall it’s been a very good experience for me, and I’m glad I got to go and do all I’ve been doing.

And if I got the chance, I would love to stay here in Germany.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the States. That’s where I grew up, it’s where my family is, it’s where you can get most YouTube videos without having to worry about American copyright issues (that’s an annoyance I’m learning to live with here in Wiesbaden). But I’ve gotten used to living in Germany. Sure, my grasp of the language is still pretty bad, and you would not believe how expensive just simply living here can be sometimes, and there are a couple of other things that sometimes get on my nerves (you would be surprised how much bakeries tolerate bees crawling over their wares), but overall, I like living here. The people here are very nice, a lot of them speak English and are willing to give you help if you need it. The places I’ve been to are very scenic and calming, and I even feel safe walking home in the dead of night from the train station after a long day traveling to another town or to a rock concert (imagine trying to feel that way in America, where paranoia is pretty big).

Not to mention I really like living and working on the base. It’s a nice place to work, with plenty of different people to meet and interact with. You’re always learning or discovering something new there. And the folks you work with are super-nice! I’m not kidding. One time I was waiting at the bus stop for the four o’clock shuttle bus to the commissary, do some grocery shopping, and then get on the bus home at 5:30. However that week the number of buses going my way had to be reduced due to some of the drivers getting sick, so I thought I had to wait for the five o’clock bus home, which also happened to be the last bus home, which meant no grocery shopping. However, some new soldiers on the base, whom I had never met before, offered me a ride in their car and dropped me off right by the commissary. I was able to get my grocery shopping done and catch the last bus home because of those folks. And like I said, I’d never met these people before, but I knew I could trust them once they offered me a ride. I think it’s because we’re all connected in a common mission of America’s defense, and that makes us willing to trust each other and help each other out when we can, when in other environments people would be…a little less trusting and helpful, I guess. But that sort of environment really makes you want to stay in a place like this, and I would love for that to happen.

Of course, I’ve said before that I don’t think it’s likely that i’ll be able to stay in Germany longer than the three months I was given for my internship. I’ve already bought my plane ticket home. I’ll be leaving October 3rd and arriving back in Ohio the same day (almost like time travel). I didn’t want to buy the plane ticket (mainly because flying anywhere is super expensive), but I have no choice.

Still, there’s hope. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been applying to a variety of different jobs so that I won’t become some freeloader in my dad’s guest room after I get back. As of Friday, the number of applications I’ve sent out are 75, with more likely to be filled out in the coming weeks, and quite a few of those jobs are placed in Germany and other parts of Europe. Who knows? If I keep applying and I keep trying, some of those jobs are going to want to interview me as a candidate, and maybe one or two will want to hire me. It may not happen till after I get back to Ohio, but it could still happen.

So I’ll keep applying, I’ll keep hoping, and above all, keep enjoying what Germany has to offer while I’m here. Who knows? I may get my wish and end up staying just a bit longer than I planned.

I wonder if they’ll let me stay in this apartment if I do get to stay. Boy, would that be nice!

It’s coming soon.

It’s coming.

Well actually at the time I started writing this post it’s six days, eighteen hours, and 18 minutes till graduation. But who’s counting?

Still, it’s amazing that this milestone in my life is coming so quickly. I’ve been looking forward to it for nearly a year, and by he time I turn around, it’s probably going to be here. I’ll see my whole family (and I mean my whole family, around ten or so people are showing up for this), I’ll walk down that aisle for my diploma, my mother will cry her eyes out and then be grateful that for mother’s day she’s got one kid graduated and three to go. There will be tears, photos, selfies galore. I’ll get my diploma and meet President Drake for the first and possibly only time. Afterwards there will be more photos and congratulations, I might have time to change my clothes, and then we’ll go out to dinner.

Oh, and alcohol. Pleeeenty of alcohol will be consumed. It’s graduation, it’s to be expected.

You know, I’m really going to miss Ohio State. So much happened here. I took so many fun classes, a few ones I wish I could do over or never took at all. I made great friends, some of whom I’ll stay friends with for life. I met so many great professors and learned so many awesome things from them. I published my first three books and wrote two or three more while I was here. I published some articles and short stories, started working for Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors. I went to Europe on a study abroad trip. I worked in a really wonderful office with really awesome people. I got my first apartment and started to really become an adult (paying bills, creating a credit history, etc.). And while I was here, I grew an audience of readers who enjoy my posts, love giving me feedback, and even read my books from time to time.

I think what I’m going to miss the most though, more than the excitement and surprises of learning something new each and every semester, is the challenge. Each and every year, and each and every semester, I’ve had new challenges to overcome, new obstacles to tackle and fight against. This has ranged from getting used to college, to getting used to semesters, living in my first apartment with a new friend, going abroad, doing a thesis, and a million other things. I like to think I met and beat challenge successfully.

Well, depending where I get my next job, there will definitely be new challenges to deal with, so that won’t be a problem. Hopefully I’ll know where I’m going soon (still working on my first job, but hopefully I’ll have more news soon). And you know what? As much as I love OSU, I feel it’s time to move on and see what’s next for me. I can’t remain as a student forever, and I don’t think I’d want to, even if I could and it cost me next to nothing. College is meant to be temporary anyway, so why stick around?

And I’m actually looking forward to getting away from a few things. Classes I hate, huge reading assignments, that sort of thing. Enough with that. And I’ll definitely be glad to see the last of those preachers on the Oval who keep telling us we have to become proper Christians (whatever that means) or we’ll go to hell. Honestly, I heard one of those guys claim the Girl Scouts are going to turn us into hedonists. I was like, “Whuuuuuuut?”

Well, I’ll make sure to post about graduation after it happens in one week. Or as a certain ghost I know likes to say:


Sorry, could not resist. You know, I once joked on Facebook that I’d married the ghost in that movie and that one post got so many likes and hilarious comments. And then some people thought it was true. Yeah, that was the awkward icing on the cake. Still, hilarious story. Might post about it some day.

Anyway, I’d like to thank everyone for sticking with me through all of my undergraduate career. I hope you guys continue to stick with me as I take on whatever comes next and as I continue to work on becoming the next big horror writer.

Until the next time, my Followers of Fear. Hope you’re not as busy as I am.