Posts Tagged ‘novel’

I told you I would be back soon!

It’s official: The Pure World Comes is now in audio book, narrated by the awesome Nikki Delgado.

This novel, which came out on an app called Readict last year and which came out in paperback and ebook back in May, is one of my favorite projects and I’m so excited for the story to be in audio book. Not just because it’s another avenue to reach readers (though that’s another reason), but because I love the audio medium, and I can’t wait to listen to the story alongside all those who haven’t yet.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, The Pure World Comes is a Gothic horror novel set 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.

Not bad, right? And the book itself has garnered some amazing reviews already. Here’s what people are saying:

This book kept you on the edge with its many twists and turns. Really haven’t read anything like it. I will follow this author

Michele Kimura, 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

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, Goodreads

Again, I’m so glad they enjoyed the book. Hearing from these readers not only encourages me and helps me out as a writer, but also gives other readers an idea of whether or not they’ll like the book. I hope I can get some great feedback on the audio book.

And speaking of which, if you would like to check out the audio book, I’ll post the available links below. Right now, there are about five or six websites distributing the audio book, and more, such as Audible, expected to release it in the coming weeks (Amazon owns Audible, so of course they’re finnicky when anything produced outside their platform). So, if you don’t see it on your preferred distributor, keep checking back and it should be there eventually.

Did I mention for the first week the audio book is discounted? That’s right, for the first week the audio book will only be $5.99. It’ll go up after the 17th, so be sure to get it now at a low price while you can!

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you think of the audio book (or the other formats, if you choose those). While you’re listening to it, I’ll be busy with other stuff, including a convention, but I promise I’ll stick around and post regularly. What can I say, I like interacting with you guys.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, happy listening, and pleasant nightmares.

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel

The Mummy of Rameses I. I thought it worked well for the post.

Sheriff’s Deputy Cole Sawyer knew he had the right house before he’d even read the numbers beside the door. The body was sitting there on the front stoop, just as the caller had said it would be.

I’ve mentioned before that I started a new novel, a mummy story I’m calling Crawler until I can come up with a better title.* It’s been a little over three weeks since I started the novel with the lines posted above. I’m now three chapters in, and I wanted to take some time to share my thoughts with you on the writing process so far.

And what are those thoughts? Well, I’m wondering what I got myself into. This book is already seventy pages (8.5 x 11 inches, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman), and rapidly approaching twenty thousand words! And that’s just the first three chapters! It’s going to be as long as Snake by the time the first draft is done. You could use it with your favorite Stephen King doorstopper to knock someone out.

Which I don’t recommend doing unless your life is in danger and you have no other options.

All that being said, it’s also been fun to write. The first chapter, I had such a hard time pulling myself away from the computer to go to bed because I was just so into the story. I got it done at that pace in two nights. And while the next two chapters haven’t gone at such a crazy pace, it’s still been a fun process.

For example, one of my characters has grown up extremely sheltered, and the events of the novel force her into the world. Writing things from her POV has been a fantastic journey of trial and discovery. I think by the end of Chapter Two, I got her down pat, but there could still be challenges ahead.

Scratch that, I know there are challenges ahead. It may be a world where a mummy is on the attack, but it’s still based on our world. The characters’ actions and reactions to events must make sense to someone in our world. That could be hard. And I have to keep the slower moments interesting. And of course, I’ll have to get on the net every now and then to do some research. Yeah, lots of challenges ahead.

But hey, the first draft isn’t meant to be perfect. It’s meant to be passable. That way, I can build on it in subsequent drafts and create something spectacular. So if I mess up, I’m sure I’ll find some way to fix it further down the line.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll post more updates as I make progress. I promise, they won’t come at a crawl (get it?). So don’t worry, I’ll be back again soon. And until then, good night, pleasant nightmares, and do not read from the Book of the Dead. If you’re not careful, you might wake up an undead Egyptian high priest seeking to resurrect his girlfriend.

*And no, I’m not going with The Mummy. Nor am I going with I Want My Mummy; Are You My Mummy?; or Man, Fuck This Mummy. One’s taken, two are probably taken by RL Stine or Doctor Who, and the last one sounds too close to a novel on my TBR list. I might go with Sympathy for the Mummy, however. I mean, that’s probably not too like a famous Rolling Stones song, is it?

As I mentioned in my last post, an audio version of The Pure World Comes is in the works and was being put through the quality assurance process. I can now let you know that TPWC has passed the quality check and is being exported to multiple audio book platforms! Even better, it should be out on most of them on August 10th, the three month anniversary of the paperback and ebook’s initial release.

For those of you who don’t know, The Pure World Comes is a Gothic horror novel about a maid going to work at the estate of a mad scientist and what happens there. Think Frankenstein had a baby with Crimson Peak. Here’s the summary from the back cover:

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.

Not bad, right? And the audio book is amazing! It’s narrated by Nikki Delgado and is about six and a half hours long. And what a great six and a half hours it is! Ms. Delgado did an excellent job and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of her reading. In fact, I made a video using the retail sample and posted it to YouTube late last night. You can watch/listen to it in the video below.

Not bad, huh? She does an amazing job reading what is probably the scariest section of the book.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll post about the audio book again as soon as it is out. In the meantime, it should show up on most audio book retailers’ websites (and likely available for preorder) by August 10th (though Amazon and Audible might be annoying for annoyingness sake). For now, you can still get the paperback and ebook editions using the links below. If you like what you read, please let me knwo what you thought so I can improve as a writer and continue to provide quality stories.

So until next time (which could be very soon), good night, pleasant nightmares, and happy reading. Or listening, whichever you prefer.

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

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

As I’ve mentioned before, I have an audio book in production for my Gothic horror novel, The Pure World Comes. What you may not know, however, is just how far production is. I can now tell you that the audio book files are done and have been sent for quality assurance. And in honor of this special news, I thought I would tell you all about the experience and any advice I have for producing an audio book.

So first things first, how did I produce the audio book? Well, I don’t have the talent, time or equipment to actually narrate my own audio books, so I used a service. Findaway Voices is a service/platform that pairs authors and publishers with audio book narrators (think ACX, but with more distribution options than just Amazon and Audible). And honestly, I found the process to get the book narrated pretty easy. Findaway Voices is owned by the same company as Draft2Digital, the platform that published the paperback and ebook versions, so all I had to do was transfer the books from one site to another. After that, all I had to do was fill out some questions and then do some auditioning.

That’s how I found my narrator, Nikki Delgado. She could do every accent necessary for each character and gave them all a unique voice. Plus, whenever I found something that could use an edit, she got it done quickly and exceeded my expectations. Truly, a great narrator and I’m glad I got to work with her.

If it’s not clear, Nikki Delgado’s a wonderful and professional narrator and if you’re thinking of hiring a narrator who can do British accents, she’d be a good choice.

That being said, producing the audio book was kind of expensive. Not as expensive as that YouTube video I sponsored when Rose came out (click here to watch that video, by the by), but it cost a lot. The majority of that money went to paying Ms. Delgado for her services, plus a bit in taxes for using Findaway Voices and for taxes (it was a service, after all). Not surprising, considering this is an income stream for many of these narrators. It’s a good thing I had some savings and budgeted for the audio book. Otherwise, after buying my own place and all the expenses involved with that, I might be in trouble!

And cost will play a role in determining if I produce another audio book this way in the future. Most of the money I used to pay Ms. Delgado came from the original payment from Readict to license TPWC, so I didn’t really take a financial hit from the payment. It made me appreciate all the more when Castrum Press paid for Rose‘s audio book, because then I didn’t have to pay for it! So if I want an audio book produced of another novel or collection in the future and I’m paying for it myself, I’ll have to do some calculations before I decide if I’m going to do it. And then I’ll have to figure it out how to pay for it if I decide to go for it!

But other than that problem, it was a great process with a good platform and an excellent narrator. So, if you can pay for the work and nothing else is holding you back, I totally recommend you use Findaway Voices.*

Audio book coming very, very soon.

Anyway, now the audio book is with Findaway Voices’ quality assurance team. They’ll check it over and make sure everything’s fine with the recording and the cover art before letting me release it. I’ll let you all know. I’m planning on the first week having the audio book on sale, so I hope you check it out when it’s available.

Until then, I’ll leave the links for The Pure World Comes down below in case you want to check it out. And if you prefer audio, I’ll post links for Rose. After all, that book has an excellent audio book as well.

So, until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

*Whether or not you get your investment back, that will depend on your marketing skills and a few other factors. Good luck to you and me both!

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

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

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.

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.