Posts Tagged ‘horror’

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.

Placeholder cover for Hannah and Other Stories.

As many of you know, I’ve been preparing to move from my apartment this weekend and into a condo. (And if you don’t, now you do). However, when I haven’t been packing, I’ve been trying to meet my obligations as a writer. The most important of these is to get edits done on one of the stories in Hannah and Other Stories, my upcoming collection of short stories. And damnit, I just finished it today.

So just to recap, Hannah and Other Stories is a collection of short stories I’ll be publishing with BSC Publishing Group. There are seven stories in the collection, and I just finished editing the third, “The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah,” about a girl’s relationship with a budding psychopath. It’s one of at least two edits I’ll be doing on this story for the next draft.

You see, during the revisions for the second story in Hannah, “Queen Alice,” the editors brought to my attention that I was doing more telling than showing and that I needed to work on that. They recommended that I go over “Autopsy Kid” after finishing “Queen Alice” to try to add more instances of showing and otherwise fix it up before they went over it. That way, I might get some lessons in better storytelling and they would have less notes to make regarding edits.

So, how did this first round of edits go? Really well, I think. As I said in my post about showing vs. telling, I wasn’t sure I understood the concept too well, let alone applying it in my writing. But “Autopsy Kid” is the longest story in the collection, so there were plenty of instances to practice. Indeed, I found plenty of places where I thought I should show rather than tell, and I think it worked out. The result was a more fleshed out story, with an antagonist who seemed more like a dark force of evil than a young boy with severe mental issues.

We’ll just have to see what BSC says. They have the manuscript now, so they’ll look through the story and let me know what edits they think I need to make. With any luck, showing vs. telling won’t be one of them and they’ll see less issues than I did on the first run-through. After that…well, we’ll see. Probably they’ll send me edits on the next story, “Fuselli’s Horses,” about carnivorous horses.

Yeah, you read that right. Carnivorous horses. I come up with the scariest, craziest shit.

And while I wait for those drafts, I’ll be moving and working on the first draft of the audio book of The Pure World Comes (which is coming along great). And after that? Well, we’ll see. It wouldn’t do to jump ahead of ourselves, now would it?

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll update you as updates come, especially for Hannah and for my new place.

And if you would like to support me, or if you would like something new and scary to read, I’ll post links to my books below. They’re all amazing stories that have received a lot of love over the years (Snake and The Pure World Comes especially have gotten some good feedback recently), so I urge you to check them out. And if you like what you read? Leave a review online somewhere! Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, it helps me out in the long run, and they help other readers decide what to read next themselves.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and don’t befriend children who like cutting things up.

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.

A lot’s been happening this month, hasn’t it? My birthday, bought a condo, and now three book anniversaries! In this case, the anniversary is for Rose, my first novel with a publisher, my most reviewed novel, and by far my most popular book. As of today, Rose is three years old.

So if you’re unaware, Rose is a Kafkaesque fantasy-horror novel that was published on June 20th, 2019. The novel follows Rose Taggert, a young grad student who wakes up in a greenhouse with no memories of the past two years. Immediately afterwards, her body transforms into a plant/human hybrid as an attempt to save her life. As she tries to adjust to the changes, Rose realizes that those around her are not all they seem, leading to a desperate fight for survival.

I first started Rose as my college thesis back in 2014 during my last year in college, and finished the first draft back in 2015. Six drafts later, including one where I rewrote about two-thirds of the book,* it was published by Castrum Press in paperback and ebook, with the audio book being released six months later.

And as I said, it’s been my most popular book, with most of the reviews being overwhelmingly positive. I think it’s the odd concept of a woman turned into a plant/human hybrid. It was heavily influenced by my love of anime and manga, which I made sure showed in the book, as well as Stephen King’s novel Misery. It’s been quite heartwarming to hear so many people love it and even to say that it’s one of their favorite novels.

In fact, here’s what people are saying:

Loved the premise and all of the descriptions of turning into a plant creature, as well as several other body horror scenes, were disturbing in the best way. I also liked the psychological horror of the story and was often at the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next…Overall, a solid horror story! I feel the strong beginning and surprising and intense ending made this a great horror experience and a book I would definitely recommend.

Emma, Amazon

From start to finish, Rose does not disappoint. The story has good pacing and I was actually quite surprised as to how developed the charters were considering how short the book is. What I really enjoyed about this book was that even if you strip away all the supernatural elements it is still a good story and once it picks up you will not want to stop reading. I do have a couple things that I would have liked to have happened in the story but they are minor and with trying not to give any spoilers away, I will keep them to myself…If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be held captive by a psychopath with a magic tome then this book is for you. Do not let the cover fool you. This is not a tween fantasy novel.

Jarod, Amazon

In this work, Rami Ungar paints a captivating picture of Japanese folklore and magic, which serves as a backdrop for a story about captivity, manipulation, and possession! His narrative style also captures the dread and claustrophobia of being a captive, not to mention the twisted pathology of the captor! Scary stuff, and all the while you’re rooting for the bad guys to get their just desserts!

Matthew Williams, author of The Jovian Manifesto, Goodreads

There’s more like this, and a few unlike it, but I don’t want to make this post annoyingly long.

Anyway, if any of the above makes you want to check out Rose, I’ll include the links down below. And if you end up reading the book, please let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, and it not only helps me in the long run, but other readers as well.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m sure I’ll be back with more news very soon. But until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

*Word of advice, don’t write flashbacks into your story unless they relate to the main plot of the story, let alone make them a third of the story and another third dependent on the flashbacks. They might be interesting or do plenty of character development, but they’re unnecessary to the main story and will in all likelihood be nixed from the final product. Believe me, I know.

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

You know me by now. In addition to horror, I love Japanese culture, especially anime and manga. So I was very excited to hear that Alma Katsu was putting out a new historical horror novel that would draw heavily on the myth of the jorogumo, or the spider-woman. Add in a WWII backdrop and I knew I wanted to read it.

Following several story threads, The Fervor mainly focuses on Meiko Briggs, the Japanese wife of a white pilot off at war, and her daughter Aiko. They are kept in the Minidoka internment camp by the US government for fear that they are Japanese spies just because of their ancestry. And as awful as that is, it gets worse. A strange disease is moving through the camp, striking down internees and guards alike, making them aggressive, violent and paranoid. As this disease, known as “the fervor,” spreads beyond the camp, Meiko realizes that this disease isn’t just killing her fellow Japanese, but it may have its origins in both Japanese culture and her own personal history.

So, Katsu admits in an afterword that this novel is different from her past historical horrors. The story of a disease attacking Japanese during a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment in the USA isn’t just an artistic choice. This book was written during a wave of anti-Asian sentiment after conspiracy theorists started spreading the rumor that China deliberately released COVID-19 upon the world. And it shows in the novel’s focus on not the disease, but on the other contagions that were common during WWII: fear and hatred. The same contagions that lead to the Holocaust in Europe and which led to the internment of Japanese Americans in camps throughout the United States, two of the most shameful chapters of human history.

This novel, as Katsu says, is a mirror.

But, how is this mirror as a story?

As you can expect, the story is extremely well-researched. Katsu, who is half-Japanese herself, draws from the stories of many of her relatives to bring to life the internment camps. You really feel you’re at the camp at times, as well as to the rest of WWII America. She also juggles the many characters, their at times contradictory minds and personalities, and the plot threads like a master. At no point did I feel that any of these characters were being emphasized too much or neglected, and they eventually come together satisfactorily. My favorite character was young Aiko, who is a bit of an outsider in more ways than one, and goes through quite a bit to survive what occurs in the novel.

And while Katsu admits she plays a bit with the WWII timeline a bit, she also includes some people and things that readers might not know about. While a fictional portrayal, Minidoka was a real place and the version we see here is based on actual testimony, minus the pandemic, of course. Also, Archie Mitchell was a real person and the balloons that play a part in the novel are based on the Fu-Go balloons that were actually used by the Japanese (and which I don’t remember being taught in my college WWII classes).

That being said, there were some things that could have been better. While most of the novel did the mirroring of our own age without being too over-the-top or preachy, the final chapter feels a bit like an overdramatic or melodramatic finish. Coming after a climax I felt was anticlimactic, I felt the ending was a bit of a letdown after what had been a good read so far. And this is a small gripe, but I spent several chapters thinking Aiko was younger than she was. True, there were hints based on the flashbacks of her true age, but the way she was written, I was surprised when I read she was twelve.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving The Fervor by Alma Katsu an even 4. While the story could have been wrapped better, it was still a great read that was well told and did a good job reflecting both the shameful parts of our past and our present. Pick it up, give it a read and see for yourself.

And if you would like some more background on the novel, read my interview with Alma Katsu on The Fervor from February. I had a great time picking her brain on the novel.

In one of my previous posts, I talked about struggling with showing vs. telling in my stories. At the end of the post, I asked for advice, as I was about to tackle “The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah,” the longest story in my upcoming collection Hannah and Other Stories.

Well, I’m not sure if I’m getting any better. But between the advice everyone was giving me in that previous post and the practice I’ve been getting in, I feel like I’m improving.

Since talking about my issues with showing vs. telling, I’ve started on that story. And while it’s been agonizingly slow at times, I feel like I am recognizing the right moments to expand on and include more detail (showing). In fact, just a couple days ago, I started on a new section of the story and the entire first paragraph was the most summarized thing ever! I was almost ashamed that I wrote it!

Anyway, that led to a pleasant hour of expanding that paragraph into an actual scene so that it was more interesting for the reader. I made extra special effort to describe the character’s experiences through their five senses, as well as their feelings. And I think that not only did I get a much better scene out of it, but I think I was able to emphasize how twisted my antagonist is even more.

That being said, I’m the only one who’s looked at my efforts so far. For all I know, my efforts and changes may still be rather messy attempts at “showing more, telling only when it’s necessary.” But how else do writers improve? We read, we write, and we keep practicing and letting people help us so that we can become better at our craft.

So even if my efforts here still require some work, they’ll at least be the foundations upon which I get better. And that’s never a bad thing.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got a busy week ahead of me, but I hope I’ll be able to announce some good news very soon. And no, I’m not retiring to write full time, starting a breakaway Jewish sect revolving around Lovecraftian entities, and magical girls, or pregnant. If any of you guessed that, you’re way off the mark.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

So much has happened in just one month, it’s kind of hard to believe. But as I just said, it’s been a month since The Pure World Comes came out and I couldn’t be more pleased that people are reading the book. And not just reading it, they’re enjoying it!

So, for those of you who are unaware (though I would be surprised if any of you are unaware, the way I talk about it), The Pure World Comes is a new Gothic horror novel that I released on May 10th. It’s set in the Victorian period and is about a maid who goes to work for a mad scientist. Imagine if Frankenstein and Crimson Peak had a baby together. Here’s the full back cover blurb:

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.

Sounds cool, right? And it’s been selling steadily over the past month, which has made me happy. Not Stephen King numbers, but enough that I’m hopeful that it’ll continue to do well.

And the reviews! Wow, people seem to like this book. Here’s what people are saying about it:

The Pure World Comes by Rami Ungar
The story started with a slow build which
quickly turned into a page turner for me.
It has a bit of a Frankenstein feel to it.
It was a little out there but I really enjoyed
it.

Annette Johnson, 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 enjoyed this book immensely. It was clear that the author has undertaken thorough research into the Victorian era as well as reading many novels from the period. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or a nod to Victorian classics, but I liked that Nellie shares her name with the housekeeper & narrator from ‘Wuthering Heights’, and when Shirley muses on suitable names for her white kitten, the author name checks Dinah, the cat of the eponymous heroine in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The pace of the book was perfect too. Everything was recounted at the right speed and with enough detail to keep me on the edge of my seat. The author successfully frightened me whilst I read this alone, late at night! I will also never dally in the bathroom ever again!

Nicola Mitchell, Goodreads

I like that that last reviewer picked up on those references. Truth be told, though, I put a lot of references in the book, including to the Overlord novels, Once Upon a Time, and even Doctor Who. Good luck spotting them all if you read the book.

Speaking of which, if you’re curious and want to read the book, I’ll leave the links, including to Goodreads, down below. Right now it’s available in paperback and ebook, with an audio book is currently in pre-production (details will be released when the audio book is on its way to being released). And I hope you want to check it out, because I’m really proud of the book. It’s a love letter to the Victorian era of history, which I love, as well as to the Gothic and horror stories from that age.

Not to mention, as the reviews above show, it’s quite scary. Especially that bathroom scene!

And if you do read TPWC, I hope you’ll leave a review somewhere. Not only does the feedback of readers help me improve as a writer, but it tells other likeminded readers whether or not to try out the book. And the more reviews, the more likely they are to check out a book in the first place. And if more people check out the book…well, you get the idea.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to bury myself six feet deep in scary stories. Until next time, good night, don’t take medical advice from Victorian doctors, and pleasant nightmares.

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

Eight years, huh? I know I should say it feels like no time at all has passed or that it feels like a lot longer, but it does feel like eight years. Maybe it’s just what’s happened in the meantime that makes it feel like that.

Anyway, eight years ago I self-published a novel that was influenced by slasher films from the 1980s, thriller novels I was devouring at a book every three weeks, and the movie Taken. That book was Snake, which I pitch to people as “about a serial killer hunting mafia in New York City.” Here’s the full blurb from the back of the book:

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.

As far as my books go, this one has had the fewest readers. Maybe it’s because it’s around 500 pages, or the paperback’s price is higher than other books, or maybe people just don’t care for serial killers. I don’t know, but I think it’s a damn shame. I had a lot of fun writing this book and you can see it in the story. And my parents, who are not the type of readers who would lie to protect my feelings, have said this book is still the scariest thing I’ve written that they’ve read (my mom still won’t finish it).

On the bright side, I have noticed a slight uptick in readers for Snake lately. It’s nothing big, but based on the number of people who have expressed interest in the book at ParaPsyCon and the Ohio Author Book Fair and the number of sales lately, it has me hopeful. Maybe more people will show an interest in Snake from here on out. It would make me happy if they did.

Perhaps I’ll get more reviews like this one:

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 The Detective and the Spy

Anyway, if you are interested in reading Snake, I’ll include links below. And if you enjoy what you read, please leave me a review somewhere. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, and helps other readers figure out whether or not they want to check out the book.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear (though I do have another post soon on the way). I’m off to enjoy myself. Or to sleep. At my age, they’re sometimes the same thing. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

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

Sarah Hans, author of Entomophobia

It’s always fun to talk to authors about their books and about what they’re working on. And today, I’ve got another author on, a friend of mine whose novel, Entomophobia, is only going to be around for a short while. So, to help her spread the word, I figured I’d bring her on the blog and pick her brains on her book.

I also bought a copy because Entomophobia just sounds really fun, and I love the idea of having a book that will only be available for a little while. The fact that it’s written by a friend made it extra special.

So, without further ado, Followers of Fear, let’s give it up for author, fellow HWA Ohio member, and my friend, Sarah Hans!

Rami Ungar: Welcome to the show, Sarah. Tell us about yourself.

Sarah Hans: I’m a public school teacher in my day job and I write mostly horror, but I also write science fiction, fantasy, and whatever else I can get paid for.

RU: How did you get into writing? And what exactly attracts you to the horror genre?

SH: I’ve been telling stories since before I could write. I found writing really tedious until the computer was invented, because my brain moves so much faster than my hand could keep up with a pen. Typing is much better! For a long time I wanted to be a science fiction author, because I love sci-fi and enjoy it so much, but every time I wrote something it would turn into horror, so I just leaned into that. Sometimes the genre chooses you!

RU: Tell us about your novel, Entomophobia. What is it about and what will readers enjoy about it?

SH: Entomophobia is about a woman in the middle of a contentious divorce and child custody battle who is cursed to turn into a bunch of insects. I hope readers enjoy seeing a very smart, determined woman who is down on her luck find strength within herself to keep going even when things seem impossibly terrible.

RU: A lot happens to your main character, Meri. Can you tell us a bit about her, what she’s dealing with and why readers will like her or want to follow her?

SH: Meri is extremely resilient. Her abusive husband is now getting custody of her daughter, she’s living with her awful mother, and now she’s got bugs coming out of her skin, but she’s not going to give up.

RU: I understand Entomophobia is only available for a short time. Can you explain why that is? Also, are you doing anything to keep it around longer?

SH: My publisher has closed her doors and the book will only be available through her until the end of the year. After that, I may self-publish it, because few publishers will reprint a book. I’ve never self-published before so it could be a fun new challenge!

RU: As someone with plenty of experience in that department, I’d be happy to give you any advice I can if you want it. Anyway, can you tell us about some of the other stories you’ve written and published?

SH: I have a collection called Dead Girls Don’t Love full of my short stories. Most people call them “quiet horror” because I don’t (usually) do a ton of gore. The horror is often psychological. I love to write from the point of view of the monster, or about people who become monsters. I also like to write feminist stories about the horror of living in an oppressive patriarchy. One of my best stories, “Tiny Teeth,” is available on Pseudopod episode 660 in both text and podcast format. I’m really proud of that one. It’ll be appearing in my next collection.

The cover of Entomophobia.

RU: What are some projects that you’re working on now or that you have coming up?

SH: I’m currently revising and tweaking a novella I just finished writing that’s about meth addicts hiding out in an abandoned asylum. I’m also about halfway through a historical horror novel about an identity thief who finds herself getting in way too deep.

RU: What is some advice you would give another writer, regardless of background or experience?

SH: It can be hard to give advice because there’s so much advice out there, and sometimes it’s conflicting! Some things I would say: Ask for what you want. Keep writing, submitting, revising, submitting. When you go to cons or interact online, don’t look to “network” and make contacts, be a real person, be genuine and honest. Most folks I’ve encountered in the writing community have been really kind, generous, and lovely, so be that in return. The opportunities will come—but you may have to wait for the world to be ready for your writing and be prepared for the day you’re finally a hit!

RU: Finally, if you were stuck on a desert island for a little while and could only take three books with you, what books would you pick?

SH: I’d want three books I’d never read before! Probably one young adult, one horror, and one romance.

RU: Solid choices. Thank you for being on the blog, Sarah. And best of luck with Entomophobia. I hope it gets plenty of new readers.

If you would like to get a copy of Entomophobia, you can purchase it in paperback and ebook from Amazon. And if you would like to connect with Sarah Hans, you can find her on her blog, SarahHans.com, as well as on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you enjoyed this interview and are interested in checking out the book. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

You know, I’m honestly surprised that, in nearly eleven years of blogging, I’ve never once talked about this subject. Well, no time like the present, right?

“Show, don’t tell” is a common phrase taught by creative writing classes and preached by writers of all stripes. Yet actually figuring out what each one is, how to tell them apart (unfortunate pun intended), and then avoid doing one versus the other is really difficult to do. Especially in your own writing.

Or should I say, in my own writing? Yeah, during editing of Queen Alice, the second story in Hannah and Other Stories, one of the notes that kept popping up was, “This is telling. Show it to us!” And while I managed to get something that would satisfy the editors down on paper, it still left me wondering how I was supposed to do this for future stories. Especially for those in Hannah.

Well, I did what I always do when I’m stumped: I do research. And while I’m still not sure I have the method down, I think I gleaned a few gems that should help.

First off, based on what I’ve found, you don’t just give up telling entirely. You actually do need to tell some things. Telling is good for things like quickly moving through parts of the story that aren’t integral and don’t need a lot of description. A better way to phrase this rule would be, “Show more, tell only as necessary.”

Next, what are showing and telling? Well, “telling” is a lot like summarizing. It’s quickly laying down the bare plot events in quick succession. There’s not a lot of description, but it’s enough to tell you what’s going on. Another way to look at it might be as thinking of the way fairy tales are told. Fairy tales don’t have a lot of details. Instead, they just tell us what happens. For example:

Drosselmeyer gave Clara a gift. She unwrapped and opened it. Inside was a nutcracker. She picked it up and instantly fell in love. “It’s the most incredible toy ever!” she said.

Yes, that’s Nutcracker, though not the original 1816 short story. But it illustrates the point, so who cares?

As for showing, it’s more detailed. Well, that’s oversimplifying it. Showing can be thought of as painting a picture that engages most or all of the senses, as well as what’s the character’s thinking. From what I can tell, the idea is to give the reader enough detail so that they not only see what’s happening and feel like they’re there, but maybe even feel the emotions or sensations the characters are experiencing. Here’s what I think might be a good example:

Hank’s muscle fibers snapped and tore apart like Twizzler Pull-n-Peels, before retying themselves into new braids. His abdomen heaved and roiled as, underneath the skin, organs shifted, burst like rotten fruit, and formed into new shapes. He could hear his bones cracking as they changed positions, stretched and folded in on themselves. And all over his body, his nerves screamed as his body shrunk in some places, elongated in others, and created new structures alien to his form. His mouth swung open, and what might have been a scream vibrated out of his throat. To his ears, it sounded like a train whistle, and he thought he saw whisps of steam rising into the air from his lips.

That was from no particular story. I just tried to paint a picture. And even writing this, I’m not sure I was successful. On the one hand, I want you to feel Hank’s pain. But on the other, I’m aware that I have only so much space, so I need to get through it one way or another. Balancing here is a difficult feat.

Maybe that’s another thing about showing vs. telling: with short stories and novelettes, you’re more tempted to tell rather than show. After all, with a novel, you have plenty of space to go into full detail with a single moment. To show, in other words. But in a shorter work, you need to economize your words, so you can only show when it really matters. Otherwise, you tell people what happens and give them enough to go on without using too much space.

Hoping I get better at showing vs. telling before this comes out.

In any case, it seems there’s still a lot for me to learn when it comes to knowing when to show and when to tell. Hopefully, with more practice, I’ll get better at distinguishing those moments and then how to show effectively. Perhaps with the next, and longest, story in Hannah, ‘The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah,” I’ll get in plenty of practice.

What tips do you have for showing vs. telling? Leave them down in the comments below.

Please leave them in the comments down below. The more help I have with this, the better Hannah and other future stories will turn out.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll keep you updated on Hannah and any of my other projects. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

I had a strange experience here on Friday. Don’t know if it was a ghost, but it was certainly weird.

ParaPsyCon was awesome again this year. Way more booths, including some I’m friends or became friends with; meeting new readers (one of whom, I swear, could have been a Chris Hemsworth impersonator) and seeing their enthusiasm when they purchased copies of my books; and, of course, being in one of my favorite places on Earth.

But this isn’t about ParaPsyCon. Because, as you already know, the Ohio State Reformatory is one of the most haunted locations in the country (as well as the filming location for several famous movies and shows, including Shawshank Redemption). And, as per usual when I visit, I experienced something weird.

Now, by “weird,” I can’t say for certain if it was something supernatural or paranormal. For all I know, it could be explained away by logical means. But I can’t explain it, and without any explanation, I just have to classify it as weird. Here’s what happened:

On Friday, after I finished setting up my booth, I decided to walk around, say hi to old friends and see what booths were set up this year. And as I’m walking the north end of the west cell block, I pass by several booths that had been finished as well and covered up with black tablecloths so nobody messes with the products underneath. Ahead of me, there’s a section of the floor that’s exposed to the foundations underneath, with metal bars around it to prevent people from falling in (I forget why that’s there).

And as I pass by the tables towards that open space in the floor, I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. And to my mind, it looks like a woman wearing a black shirt exiting one of the cells.

I stop, and turn around to confirm what I’ve seen. No one is there.

Like I said, “weird.” And I’m sure there are a few explanations as to what I saw, which might include the black tablecloths.

On the other hands, for a few years, Ohio State Reformatory did have a few cells for female inmates until the Ohio Reformatory for Women was opened in Marysville in 1916. So perhaps what I saw had something to do with that?

In the end, I can’t say. I can only say that it was weird. And that it likely won’t be the last weird experience I have at the Reformatory.


Speaking of this weekend, The Pure World Comes had a very successful weekend! Not only did my Victorian Gothic horror novel about a maid going to work for a mad scientist (“Think Frankenstein and Crimson Peak had a baby together,” as I told folks at the convention) get a bunch of new readers, but it also got a lot of great reviews online. Currently, it’s sitting at a 4.1 out of 5 based on 16 ratings and reviews on Goodreads, and 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon based on 4 reviews and ratings. And a family member of mine told me they thought it was my best work yet! And believe me, they would tell me if it sucked.

I’m so happy with the response TPWC has received in the past two weeks since it was released. And since I intend to keep it up, I’ll post links below. If you think this book might be something you’d want to read, I’ll leave links below (as well as for my other books). And if you enjoy what you read, please find a way to let me know what you think. Not only do your reviews help me out, but they let readers know whether the book is worth their time. A valuable service, believe me.

So, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve another busy week ahead of me, but I’m hopeful it’ll also be a good week. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

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

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

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

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