Posts Tagged ‘homeownership’

Stock image of a house. Definitely not my condo! Photo by Binyamin Mellish on Pexels.com

As many of you know from reading in this blog, I recently bought and moved into a condo after six years in an apartment complex. And while at first it was a lot of stress, I’ve been enjoying my new home while at the same time updating it, repairing certain things, and thinking of more changes to make (I’m thinking of painting my bedroom green, and my office will definitely be black and white).

Yeah, I’m lucky to have this place.

I know a lot of other people in my age bracket aren’t as lucky.

Let’s face it, housing in the United States is in a crisis right now. There are a whole lot of reasons why that is: fewer affordable apartment buildings available or being built; fewer single-family or “starter” homes available or being built; Baby Boomers and Gen Xers downsizing and taking all the homes that are available because they have more financial resources; wages having not increased for years while the cost of living having grown steadily at the same time; local ordinances making it more profitable to build multi-family homes and homes for higher-earning families; and so much more.

I won’t go more into it because I’m not a subject matter expert, but these videos do a great job explaining the problem:

This one is from The Daily Show showing how desperate things have become and the factors millennials face.

This one from Vox shows how making affordable homes in the US faces more obstacles than just profits.

And Last Week Tonight with John Oliver shows the many problems that folks in many of America’s cities are facing just trying to keep a roof over their head. It’s as funny as it is troubling.

Like I said, I’m lucky. I have a good job and my paycheck has grown with every passing year. Rent in my city has, until recently anyway, been quite affordable and never got too expensive at my place. My student loans were paid off years ahead of schedule thanks to my paternal grandfather of blessed memory, and what was left of what he left me allowed me to really build my savings account. They were further built by putting away the stimulus payments the government gave out in 2020 and 2021. I didn’t have to put those payments towards necessities because my workplace had been doing work-from-home for years, so the switch wasn’t too hard on me and my employer. And I got my mortgage before the interest rate was hiked, so I don’t have to pay extra like a bunch of other people who will be borrowing money in the near future.

Again, I’m lucky.

But even with all that luck, I still had a lot of trouble finding a new home. In the six months I searched for a new home, I heard about high wait lists for apartments in the complexes I applied to. Especially the nice ones that were affordable, and those were few and far between. Most of the ones that didn’t look like they were dens of iniquity or poorly maintained charged well over a thousand dollars per month for one-bedroom apartments. And that was just looking for a place to rent! (I tried to keep my options open.) Of the seven houses and condos for sale I visited, I bid on five. And I was outbid on the first four, sometimes by several thousand dollars.

Getting this place, especially right as I was getting close to my move-out date, was a Godsend.

And I know plenty of my generation are struggling, and will continue to struggle, just to stay in a home. And for many, even a crappy apartment might be too expensive. As in the Daily Show video, plenty of millennials are buying fixer-uppers together, but for many even that is too hard.

And I just hope that, by talking about it, maybe something will change. Not on its own, obviously. What do I look like, the Pope? But maybe, if I join my voice to the chorus advocating for change, then maybe change will come. It’ll be slow, but I hope it happens. And if nothing else, maybe it’ll remind us how lucky we are to be in homes at all. And that nothing in life is guaranteed.

Well, that was a dark note to finish on. How about some photos of my new place?

My bedroom. I’m thinking of painting it green.
Jonesy hanging out on the wall near the kitchen window.
No surprise, my masks make this place so much creepier.
My first Shabbos celebration in the new place. Took a lot of unpacking before I could do this.
You like my new rug? Bought it with a gift card a friend gave me as a housewarming gift.
My new writing space. What do you think?
Finally, my new lamp. I like the meeting of vintage and industrial here.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. If there are any more updates on my home life that I feel like sharing, I will. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

If you’re reading this, it means two things. One is that I finally have internet at my new condo, so glory hallelujah on that. The other is that I’m probably going to watch the latest episode of Ms. Marvel and get all caught up for the finale on Wednesday (I know where my priorities are).

So, with so much going on in my life and in my writing career, I thought I’d do a post on all the things I’m working on and where I am in them. Given that it’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on certain projects, it felt necessary. And hell, sometimes I need a reminder of all I got going on! It’s a lot to keep straight in this wacky head of mine.

And since that about sums it up, let’s get into it. Without further ado, here are updates on what I’m doing.

The Condo

Off the top, let’s talk about the condo. At this point, I’m almost entirely unpacked and am making a list of projects and changes I want to do for the place. It’s going to be a lot of work (and a lot of cash), but I think I’m up for it. Especially with the help I’ve been getting from friends, family and contractors.

In the meantime, I’m living and liking it here. In fact, I’m planning on posting some photos of the space soon (if I haven’t already), and maybe even doing a YouTube video on my new writing space. And I’ll definitely be posting about homeownership and the search for a home in the future. Is that unusual for this blog? A bit. Is it something I want to talk about here anyway? Yes, so look forward to lots of news about the condo in the future. 

That Which Cannot Be Undone anthology

The anthology project I’m working with my colleagues here in the Buckeye State to highlight Ohio horror and Ohio horror writers is still coming along. We’ve been going over what could end up being the cover art for the anthology, and sending edited drafts of our stories to our fabulous editor. At this rate, we should be on schedule for an October release.

And given some of the stories I’ve read already, it’s going to be an awesome anthology. I can’t wait for you to read it.

The Pure World Comes

Nothing to update here from yesterday, but the audio book is still coming along. Just thought I’d mention it.

Hannah and Other Stories

Back at the end of June, I sent the edits for the second story, Queen Alice, and an initial polish of the third story, The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah, back to the publisher. They’re now looking through the draft and making further recommendations for the story. After that, there are four more stories to edit, and then hopefully we can set a release date for this collection.

Other Projects

I’m shopping around a bunch of short stories and novelettes, trying to find them a home. It’s difficult, but since when has playing the publishing game ever been easy? And I’ve already had some success this year, so there’s a good chance I’ll get a few acceptances.

Speaking of which, The Dedication of the High Priestess is still on track to air on Tales to Terrify at some point this year, so keep an eye out for updates on that.

In the meantime, I’ll be editing They Sleep Within the Rock (AKA the novella where I let my frustrations out and terrorize some white supremacists). I may then let someone beta read it before editing it again and finding somewhere to submit it. Hopefully, someone likes it enough to publish it.

And I might start a new story I just had the idea for tonight. I don’t know why, but it feels like a winner.

But after that…

A New Novel

Yeah, you read that right. I’ll be working on a new novel when I’m not working on other projects. Specifically, I’ll be working on Crawler, the mummy novel I planned to start last year before Hannah was accepted. I actually looked at the outline I wrote last year and have already started thinking of ways to improve the story (including a better working title). Once that’s taken care of and I’ve edited the novella I mentioned, I’ll hopefully get started and create one hell of a horror novel.


Well, that’s all I can think of right now. If I come up with anything else, I’ll be sure to give you all a shout. So, until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares. I’m off to deal with my first supernatural invasion of my condo. Curse you, Undead Moon Bear! You’re scuffing up the hardwood!

How’s your July going, everyone? One-third or so the way in, and things are getting better. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I think as I get more stuff unpacked and get used to living in this new space, it’s getting easier. Perhaps by the end of the month, I’ll be in so good a mood, I’ll dance around my new condo.

Alright, now onto business. As you can tell from the super-helpful title of the post, it’s been two months since the release of my latest book, The Pure World Comes. As you probably know, The Pure World Comes is my Gothic horror novel that I released back in May. It takes place in Victorian England and follows a maid who goes to work for a mad scientist. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Shirley Dobbins wants nothing more than to live a quiet life and become a head housekeeper at a prestigious house. So when she is invited to come work for the mysterious baronet Sir Joseph Hunting at his estate, she thinks it is the chance of a lifetime. However, from the moment she arrives things are not what they seem. As she becomes wrapped up in more of the baronet’s radical science, she realizes something dark and otherworldly is loose within the estate. And if left unchecked, it’ll claim the lives of all she holds dear.

So, is there anything new to announce since the one-month anniversary? Actually, yes: the audio book for TPWC is coming along very nicely. Yeah, there’s an audio book on the way, and so far, it sounds great. I’m working with a professional narrator, Nikki Delgado, and she’s done a great job on the story and the characters. We’ve exchanged notes, and she’s updating the files for each chapter even as you read this. I should hopefully know when it’s coming out very soon.

Hopefully, people will enjoy the audio book.

Well, given the reviews the book has gotten, I think the audio book will be received just as well:

In Victorian England, Shirley Dobbins rises from lowly maid to competent scientist. The problem is, her tutor and employer is a mad scientist, and his mansion is haunted. I loved the cast Ungar put together, young to old, rich and poor, lower class and upper class, and most dramatically, kind hearted and evil. The mad scientist’s haunted mansion is a character, too, with its secret laboratory and portals and rats and a haunted toilet…Gothic horror fans will love The Pure World Comes. Ungar keeps getting better and better. He has become an auto-buy author for me.

Priscilla Bettis, Amazon

I really like Gothic stories, so I was excited to read this, and it didn’t disappoint. I liked the protagonist very much. Shirley had many qualities that, for me, make a strong protagonist. She struck me as being a character who didn’t rely on others for approval, and while she seemed a sensitive character in many ways, I felt that she was self-contained. She was not overly emotional, and it seemed that she had a realistic view of the world around her. I liked that. The story itself was very gripping, and there were even some moments that caused me to gasp in surprise while I was reading. However, this was something that encouraged me to keep reading. Something else that I enjoyed about this was that it wasn’t too long or drawn out. It was a satisfying read, and intriguing read, but short enough to read in one sitting, if desired. The kind of thing that I might choose if I wanted a short book to read on the evening before my book club meeting. I have some friends who are keen on this type of story too, so I may recommend this book to them.

Kelly Marie Purdy, Goodreads

I love it when I’m pleasantly surprised by a book. Rami Ungar is not a debut author, (according to the back of the book, this is his fourth novel), but his work is new to me and so I went in not knowing what to expect. What I got was a short novel so perfectly Victorian and utterly Gothic that it made my old-fashioned self giddy as a schoolgirl…Mixing classic-romantic Victorian elements with early science-fiction, tales of Jack the Ripper/Spring-Heeled Jack, and a bit of the occult, this book gives the reader a truly chilling and also slightly fun little Gothic adventure.

Heather Miller, Amazon

And these are just some of the reviews TPWC has received these past two months. I hope as word spreads, more people give it a read and let me know what they think.

Speaking of which, if you would like to read The Pure World Comes and see if this Gothic horror tale is as enjoyable as the reviewers above say, why not give it a read yourself? I’ll include the links below so you can check it out yourself. And if you like what you read, please leave a review! Not only does your feedback help me out as a writer, but they help other readers figure out whether or not to try a book out themselves. So, you’d be helping me and other readers out as well.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you think of the story, and I’ll let you know about the audio book or the third anniversary, whichever comes first. And in the meantime, I’ll keep you updated on what’s going on in my life and career, especially once my internet is installed tomorrow (darn internet provider screw ups).

Anything else? Oh wait, I got a joke for you that I heard from my dad recently. It’s one of his best: a man’s wife asked him to go pick up six bottles of Sprite from the grocery store. Unfortunately, he miscounted and picked seven up.

Get it?

Well, until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares!

The Pure World Comes: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads

Jonesy, my skeleton roommate, chills while the rest of us move my boxes in. Honestly, if he weren’t already dead, I might kill him for being so lazy.

In a previous post, I mentioned how stressful and anxiety-inducing packing up for my move had been. Now, I’m unpacking in my new home, trying to make it livable and taking note of what needs to be worked on. And boy, is that a wave of emotions!

As many of you know, I bought my first home recently, a nice condo perfect for a guy living on his own like myself. On the one hand, I’m glad to have finally stopped renting, as now is not a good time to rent and I’m tired of living where I was. I have a quiet place and I can do with it what I want (on the inside and according to cost, at least). But at the same time, my new home is still a mess of boxes, I have so much left to do, I’m already encountering things that need to be worked on, and I’m getting ready to pay the various bills associated with owning a home.

It’s a lot, and every day I feel like I’m on roiling sea of emotions. Happiness, hope, excitement, worry, regret, anxiety, annoyance (mostly because my internet provider screwed up and I won’t have internet till next week), and exhaustion. Mostly exhaustion. Kid you not, I’ve gone to bed every night feeling like I’ve run a marathon from all that I’ve done!

Still, I’m trying to remain positive. Moving out and getting a new home is what I wanted. And of the five homes I bid on, four were in the area I moved to, including the one I got. I can’t help but feel this is fate. And every time I break down a box, I feel like I’ve lightened my load a little bit. And I’m doing everything I can to make sure my mental health doesn’t take a toll. It’s good that I have a strong support network around me, to boot.

And talking about this here on my blog helps.

Also, and this may or may not be related, but I’ve been feeling a strong urge to get back to writing. Not editing, which I’m already doing plenty of, Hannah-related and otherwise, but something new. Perhaps a novel. Perhaps Crawler, the mummy novel I was going to start last year before Hannah was accepted (also, that title is a working title). Perhaps with a new change of home, I want to channel that new energy and all these roiling emotions into some new creative work?

Well, I’ll keep you all informed on any big developments. The next time I write about my new life as a homeowner, I hope I’ll have plenty to share with you, and most of it good news. Not only that, but there are a couple of book anniversaries coming up, so I’ll be sure to post about those somehow. And I’m always hopeful of another advance in my writing career.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue to support me by checking out my already published books. Some of them, like Snake and The Pure World Comes, have been getting all sorts of new reviews, and the readers seem to enjoy them, calling them quite scary and engrossing. And the latter has an audio book on the way, which is super exciting. Why not check read the reviews and check them out? I’ll include links below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to finish up one DIY project and unpack my bedroom and office. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and don’t set off commercial grade fireworks in residential areas. It can be quite an issue for your neighbors, to say the least.

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

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

So, I’ve started the process of packing things up. Today I started by packing my many, many books and DVDs/Blu-Rays, followed by packing up the stuff I use when I’m working my day job from home. Tomorrow, I hope to do my more delicate stuff, like my doll and figurine collection, possibly my plates and kitchen stuff, and a few other things I have around here.

I gotta tell you, packing for this move has been a lot more stressful and scary than I expected. It’s a lot of work, I need to figure out what to pack when, get the packing done before moving, somehow figure out what to do with my food (thankfully, I only have so much in my fridge right now), and a few other things. Honestly, in only one day, it’s affected my appetite so I don’t feel that hungry.

The heat from bringing in the many boxes probably contributed to the appetite. Packing during summer, people!

The thing that’s been scaring me, though, is the idea of packing up my entire life. I’ve lived in this apartment complex over six years now, five in a one-bedroom and eighteen months or so in a two-bedroom. When I first moved here, I was starting my day job and only had so much stuff. Packing up then took only a little while, as did moving all my stuff in. When I moved into the two-bedroom, it was more of a simple transfer, so I packed knowing most of my stuff would just be spread out in a little more space. I didn’t even have to do too much with the stuff with my fridge and freezer. It wasn’t a big change.

But I’m going to a condo I bought now, and that requires a lot more considerations. Not to mention seeing just how much I’ve settled into this complex, only for all of it to be picked up. It’s kind of like my apartment has been an extension of myself, and I’m packing myself away. Or maybe even ripping parts of myself off the walls.

And before you mention me making a story out of that idea, the movie Monster House kind of already did that. Though I do hope to use my experiences of moving into a story someday.

Anyway, I’m taking some time to do some writing work, which is both a source of stress and a way for me to relax. When I get back to the packing, I’ll do it with the goal of conquering my fears. I assume it gets easier the more stuff gets put into boxes and I get further along in the packing process. I’m mostly just blogging to unload and get my thoughts and anxieties out. That worked for the pandemic, so why not for packing for my move?

Wow, that last paragraph went in a rambling direction. Anyway, I look forward to letting you know about how the move goes and everything what happens afterwards. Or possibly in-between. Anyway, until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

So I did a thing yesterday.

As you can tell from the the above photo and from the title of this post, I’m now a homeowner. I bought my own home yesterday. I met with the previous owners and our respective realtors yesterday at a title agency office, we all signed a ton of forms, and now I have my own place.

Specifically, I bought a condo which is a short drive from my day job. It’s got plenty of room for a creepy bachelor such as myself, including a second bedroom I can use as a home office, as well as plenty of closet room and a laundry space. It’s in a very nice area, and the monthly payments will be much more affordable than if I had stayed renting.

Honestly, it was not an easy process to find this place. I decided to move around late December, early January, but originally was only looking for apartments. My dad convinced me to at least look at buying in case something good was available. I reached out to a realtor I knew, and we started looking. This led to several emails of listings in my price range, about seven or eight home visits, and five bids on different places, only the last one being successful. The real estate market right now is really tough, especially if you’re a millennial like me.

But I’ll leave that for another post (and believe me, I will write that post). For now, I’m going to start on the process of moving. I have to call the local HOA rep and introduce myself, ensure my utilities, accounts and subscriptions are switched to the new place, and, of course, hire a moving company and get my things packed up. It’s going to be a lot of work.

Still, I’m looking forward to the change in residence and having my own place that I not only live in, but I can modify as I please (to some extent). I feel like it’ll be a good place for me as a person and as a writer.

And I’ll be sure to let you know all about my new place and how it’s coming along in due time. With certain limitations, of course. I’m not going to announce my address or give anything else away that might show stalkers, robbers or weirdoes where I live.

Anyway, thank you to my realtor and my lender for being such wonderful people and for helping me find this place. And thanks to the previous owners for keeping the place in such wonderful condition (and for expressing interest in my writing. I hope they end up reading some of my work like they said they would). And to everyone else who made this possible, thank you. I can’t wait to show you all my new home and update you on my adventures in homeowning.

Also, if it’s haunted, I hope the new home has a friendly spirit in it. Getting rid of evil spirits is such a pain in the ass!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have stuff to do if I want to do a late-night editing session tonight. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.