Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

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.

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

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

The cover’s typo is finally fixed. In case you hadn’t noticed.

Do I need an introduction? The Pure World Comes, my Gothic horror novel, has been out a week. And I am really happy with the results.

The Story

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.

That blurb on the back has gotten some people interested, so I’m proud of it. Along with the whole book, of course. It’s kind of a love letter to the Victorian era and the literature that came out around that time (particularly the scary books). And for all the glitz and charm that era has in our memories, it was actually a pretty dirty era, especially if you lived in London. I actually included a lot of the grosser stuff of the era, such as shit-filled streets, crazy theories about pregnancy and childbirth (trust me, they had some wacky beliefs), and Jack the Ripper.

Yeah, he appears in the novel as well. Anyway, I worked hard to make the age feel real to readers while at the same time delivering a terrifying novel. And I think based off the reviews, I did just that. More on that later, though.

Trivia about The Pure World Comes

I’m not lying, I’ve kind of wanted to do some trivia for this book for a while. And now that it’s been out for a week and a lot of people are reading it, I think I’ll do some trivia:

The Westover plantation. See the resemblance?
  • If TPWC were to be made into a movie (I can dream), I think I know whom I’d like to play the two leads, Shirley Dobbins and Sir Joseph Hunting. At least, using the current roster of actors out there. First, for Shirley, I’d want Millie Bobby Brown. If you’ve seen Enola Holmes, you know why.
    As for Sir Joseph, I’d like either Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time) or Julian Richings (Death in Supernatural). I kind of based the character on both men and integrated parts of the characters they played into Sir Joseph, so it would be awesome if either of them were to play the character.
  • As for the Hunting Lodge, Sir Joseph’s home (and technically also a character, as tends to happen in Gothic stories), I based it on the Westover Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia. The red brick, symmetrical house just struck me as having a lot of character, so with some mods I made it into the Hunting Lodge.
  • I originally had ideas for more characters around Shirley’s age, and there was going to be a whole lot of love triangles and unrequited loves and whatnot. You know, kind of like what goes on in Bridgerton (which is Regency rather than Victorian, but you get the idea). However, that got complicated pretty fast and distracted from the main plot, so I whittled it down to just one and stuck with it.
  • Finally, I added a whole lot of references and Easter eggs to the story for kicks. Some of you might have realized that the character of Nellie is named after the character from Wuthering Heights, a classic of Victorian literature (even if I do hate it). But I also included references to Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, and even the anime Overlord. Points to everyone who can find them all!

Reviews

As I said above, I’ve been getting some great reviews on TPWC. At the time I’m writing, the book has four on Amazon and thirteen on Goodreads. Here is what people are saying:

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

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.

Jack the Ripper makes an appearance. He mostly lurks in the background, but he adds a menacing plot thread to the book. It feels natural to the story and the setting, not at all gimmicky on Ungar’s part.

Meanwhile, Shirley and the mad scientist are trying to perfect animal and human imperfections, but where do they draw the line between playing doctor and playing God?

While I enjoyed this story, there’s a scene that contains a misunderstanding about the physics of vacuums. But if readers aren’t into science they might not notice. Also, the title doesn’t work for me. Thematically, it makes sense, but it neither catches my attention nor sparks my imagination. So The Pure World Comes is almost a five-star read for me, but not quite.

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

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.

Anette Johnson, Amazon

Fun fact, the last review is written like that on Amazon and Goodreads and I kind of love how it looks a little like a freestyle poem. But more than that, I love how enthusiastic these reviews are. And if you look online, you’ll see plenty of other people saying positive things about the book. Even the three star reviews seemed to like it, which is nice.

I hope more reviews are like this.

Links

This coming weekend in Mansfield, OH. Hope to see you there.

Anyway, if you want to check this book out, I’ll include links below, including Goodreads. It’s been a fun ride writing, editing, and publishing this book, and seeing what people think of it. i hope with time, more people come to read and enjoy it and let me know what they think. After all, reviews not only help other readers decide if a book is worth their time, they help the writers improve their craft and know what their readers are thinking.

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


Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you enjoy The Pure World Comes. I probably won’t post again until after ParaPsyCon this coming weekend (where I hope TPWC sells out), but the moment something comes up worth posting about, I will. Until next time, good night, happy reading and pleasant nightmares.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first publication of 2022!

Some time ago, I met another Jewish horror writer by the name of Richard Gerlach. There was an anthology being created at the time of holiday horror stories, and we thought we’d team up to write one with a little Jewish flair. We wrote a story set around Hanukkah and submitted it. It didn’t get in, but it birthed a friendship and we both believed in the story, so we kept shopping it around.

Dead of Winter from Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative and Spark Street Media, which contains mine and Richard Gerlach’s story “Azazel Dances.” Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

Some time last year, the story was accepted by the Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative,* who in partnership with Spark Street Media are releasing the anthology Dead of Winter. And our story, “Azazel Dances,” is featured in the anthology! Which is out today!

Honestly, Rich and I are so excited for you to read this story, which centers on a demon who interferes with two feuding Jewish families around Hanukkah. Not only do we get to add to the ever-growing subgenre of Jewish horror (something I’ve been trying to do anyway), but we worked really hard on this story. Like really hard. Like oh my God, the amount of work that went into this story to make sure it was ready for publication! And it was not easy for either of us to find time to edit it, either. Like, I tried to buy the guy a bottle of wine because we somehow made the deadline despite the amount of work and how crazy our lives got! Sadly, mailing alcohol without subscriptions or memberships to special clubs is troublesome.

The point is, we put in a lot of hard work, and I’m very proud of the work we put in to write and edit this story together. So I hope you read it and see what we managed to create together. And if you like what you read, please make sure to spread the word somehow. Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok, whatever. Leaving your thoughts online somewhere allows us writers to know what people think of our work, as well as helps other readers decide whether or not to check out the book.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll leave a link to check out Dead of Winter below. Ebook is already available, and paperback shouldn’t be far behind. Either edition, there are a lot of great stories in there besides the one by Rich and me, so it’s worth your while. And while you’re at it, you should also check out Richard Gerlach. He’s a great writer with another story in another anthology and has more on the way. He also writes for Divination Hollow Reviews and is a co-host for the podcast Staring Into the Abyss. You can find him on his Twitter account here, his previous publication here, Divination Hollow Reviews here, and the Twitter account for the podcast here.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I don’t know how we got to the end of February so fast, but I’m looking forward to whatever March brings. So until next time, good night, happy reading and pleasant nightmares!

*Dublin Ohio, which was used for a short scene in Rose. Not Dublin, Ireland. Just clarifying.

DEAD OF WINTER Amazon Page

You’re probably reading this title and wondering what’s going on in my life that would make me write a blog post with such a title. Well, I’m not planning on going to an ashram in India or a monastery in Tibet to find enlightenment, if that’s what you’re wondering. So not the right time for it.

No, the reason why is, between my limited time and all that’s going on, I have to refigure where my priorities lie.

For one thing, there’s Cracked Skull Press and That Which Cannot Be Undone. The campaign is in its latter half, so I need to spend a lot more time focusing on making sure that it’s a success. It’ll involve a lot of man hours, networking and other tasks. So I’ll have to set aside more time to working on that and not to writing. I’ll need to if we’re to make the remaining amount of funding in our budget.

Speaking of which, if you would like to help us create a kickass horror anthology, or you’re just curious, you can find more about the anthology, the campaign, and the rewards here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology. We’ve been working hard on making sure we have an awesome anthology with talented horror authors and we can’t wait to share it with you. Thanks in advance for your support. We appreciate it.

If you would like to check out the campaign and help me and my friends put out a great anthology with our stories inside, click the link above.

Even after the campaign is done, I have two books to release this year. I’ll be putting out a paperback and ebook of The Pure World Comes (plus an audio book if fate is kind), my Victorian Gothic horror novel. That probably won’t take too much time, as all I need is provide a good cover and ensure it’s formatted right. However, Hannah and Other Stories will need A LOT of editing done. Those seven stories will each require their fair share of attention, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some, like “The Autopsy Boy and Doctor Sarah” or “What Errour Awoke,” may need significant portions rewritten.

Add in all that, plus one story that’s currently being edited for a different anthology and other stories that might be accepted into other anthologies and magazines, the probability of a third draft of Toyland (or is it the fourth?), conventions and book expos, and a whole lot of other stuff that will or could crop up, and I will have to put a hold on the writing for a while.

It’s a shame. I was really enjoying working on this story where I got to terrorize neo-Nazis. And I had a great idea for a story based around Cinderella I was looking forward to writing. And this will probably push my mummy novel Crawler even further back.

But as things stand, my life won’t handle anymore projects. Still, if any of these stories find a home, it’ll be worth the pause. Because as long as I’m able to keep sharing my twisted, terrifying stories with you all, that’s all that matters.

My works can be found in many great booksellers. Check them out and let me know what you think.

And if you want to help things along, you can always check out my works that are already published and leave reviews online. Those help me immensely by letting me know people are reading my stories and are also letting other people know if my stories are worth their time. You can find my stories on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from other great booksellers. Just search Rami Ungar and see what comes up!

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I look forward to updating you with the latest on all the projects I’m part of or will be hopefully be part of soon. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and Happy New Year.

Oh, and before I forget, I was recently featured again in the Columbus Jewish News and interviewed on the website Bookishly Jewish. And my fellow writers at Cracked Skull Press were on the podcast Necrocasticon recently too. Please check them out if you get the chance. Thanks!

I first heard of this film earlier this year. And I heard a lot of back and forth on it. Some people loved it, other people hated it. It got a terrible response when it was released. However, there’s a cult following around it, and I recently found it on HBO Max. So, unsure of what I was getting into, I watched it.

Based on the graphic novel from Boom Studios (which I may need to read now), The Empty Man follows James Lasombra, a former cop with a past. When his friend’s daughter Amanda goes missing and the police show little interest in finding her, he does some investigating himself. This leads him not only to a strange cult with connections to a spirit in Bhutan, but to a rabbit hole that will not only change him, but the world.

Well, that was something else. And I have to say, I’m glad I watched it.

For one thing, the main part of the film is very atmospheric. There’s this somber air around the whole film which pairs well with the story and the characters. Add in some decent jump scares and some even better creepy sequences, and you actually have a film that’s hard to look away from. I especially like the sequences involving the cult, which is just freaky as all get out. Especially that bonfire scene.

Oh, and the sequences with the titular Empty Man is quite creepy to watch when they’re onscreen.

That being said, it’s not perfect. The main issue is the film’s opening. Remember two paragraphs ago where I said “main film?” The first twenty minutes are kind of a prologue to the rest of the movie, but it feels like its own short film rather than part of a cohesive story. And I’m sure the difference between those first twenty minutes and the rest of the film is part of why this film got negative reviews after its release.

In addition, there were never any moments where I felt a huge surge of terror; Lasombra’s personal trauma is supposed to be very important but is only really explored near the end of the film when its impact on the audience won’t be that strong; and I’m sure there are people who won’t like the final twist, or get the philosophical mumbo-jumbo from the cult.

That last part wasn’t a big turn off for me, but I can see it being a turn off for others.

All in all, though, I can see how The Empty Man could receive a cult following and has been doing so much better since being released to streaming and home media. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’ll give it a 4.2. It’s strange, creepy and compelling. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think you should check it out and find out if it’s yours.

Don’t let nothing stop you from watching it.*

*That makes plenty of sense if you’ve seen the movie.

Funny story: when I was writing the title of this post, I accidentally wrote “Days’ instead of “Years.” I thought about the confusion my Followers of Fear would feel when they saw that title, smiled maliciously, then decided to change the title. You’re welcome.

So, today marks eight years since The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones was released. This was my first published book, and my first published collection of short stories to boot. I wrote it in early 2013 because I decided to self-publish the year before. As I was working on a novel that wasn’t ready to be published, but wanted something out anyway, I started writing stories with the goal of making a small collection. A lot of work, some feedback from one of my creative writing classes, and on July 17th, 2013, The Quiet Game was released!

Looking back, the work I wrote then sometimes feels a bit amateur to me. If I wrote some of those stories today, I think I would have written some of them differently. Still, I’m proud of them and I’m glad that people enjoy them (more on that in a bit).

And then there’s the cover. I actually took that photo on a snowy night at Ohio State. It’s actually Orton Hall on the Oval, our central quad. I then added some special effects to make writing in the sky, and then added the letters. Which, as I mentioned in my unboxing video from March, accidentally had an extra F in the subtitle. Oops. But I’m fond of the typo now. It means people shiver when they read it!

And shiver they do. Here is what people have been saying about The Quiet Game:

A collection of five varied stories that get stronger as the collection builds, with the final being my favorite. Though I fancy myself able to “solve” the stories before the reveals, there were several surprises here, especially the reveal in the Quiet Game and I’m Going to be the Next James Bond. I also liked that Rami pulled no punches with his characters. In one instance, an anti-semite for instances uses words that would be hard for any author to write -though are necessary to his character. There are other examples sprinkled throughout the stories that show Rami’s commitment to telling the story in the way it needs to be told. A good collection for a stormy night!

Joleene Naylor, author of the Amaranthine vampire novels.

Imagine if you will a young Stephen King penning dark scenarios inspired by his youth, and what you get is this anthology. Through this collection of short stories, Rami Ungar brings us into the world of dark urges, childhood traumas, ghosts, phantoms, and dark psychological thrillers. An inspired creation, and definitely a good intro to this indie author’s world!

Matthew Williams, author of The Cronian Incident.

this book was filled with action pacted fun and the scary vibes are always coming and I think that you need to write more of these 5 book scare rides. totaly a 6 (; star book.

KATHLEEN LYNN LEVEN
My friend and fellow author Allen Huntsman with his new copy of “The Quiet Game.” I look forward to hearing his thoughts.

I should mention, the reviews come straight from Amazon, so any typos are the reviewers’ and not mine.

Anyway, most of the reviews are like this and I’m happy that people enjoy the book so much. In fact, before Rose, The Quiet Game was my most reviewed book on Amazon. And while Rose may still be ahead in terms of reader feedback, I still get people picking up The Quiet Game every now and then and leaving their thoughts. So, I guess I wrote some stories that have aged well.

One can hope, anyway.

If you would like to check out The Quiet Game, I’ll leave links below. It’s a short but enjoyable read, so I hope you’ll get a kick out of it if you pick up a copy. And if you like what you read, or if you don’t, please leave some feedback for me. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me, as well as other readers, in the long run.

Thanks for checking the book out, and happy publishing anniversary.

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


One last thing, my Followers of Fear: the tenth anniversary of when I started this blog is coming up, and I’m having an Ask Me Anything, or an AMA, to celebrate. Submit a question to me, along with your name and where you’re from, to my email at ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com by 11:59 PM July 28th, 2021. Not only will you get your question answered, but one lucky person will win a prize!

I look forward to answering all your questions and celebrating the big event with you. Until next time, stay safe and pleasant nightmares!

It’s hard to believe that two years have passed by since Rose was released. For one thing, 2020 felt like it was way longer than a year. And January 2021 felt like at least three months. Still, it’s been two years since Rose was released, and so I’m celebrating it with you today.

So if you’re unaware, Rose is a novel I wrote that was released June 20th, 2019 by Castrum Press, based in Belfast, North Ireland. The novel follows Rose Taggert, a young graduate student who wakes up in a greenhouse with no memory of the past two years. Suddenly, she undergoes a transformation into a plant/human hybrid! And then, as people around her react to her new form, particularly a young man who claims to be her boyfriend and to have saved her life, she realizes that not everyone can be trusted. Dark forces are swirling around her, and if she’s not careful, not only will her life be forfeit, but her loved ones as well.

Rose Trivia

I’ve heard that readers love behind-the-scenes trivia about books they’ve read or they’re considering reading. Especially if it comes from the original author. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d do some trivia for Rose’s anniversary today. Hopefully you find it interesting.

  • The original idea for this novel came to me in a science fiction class at school. Back in college, I was taking a Science Fiction & Fantasy literature course (yes, Ohio State taught that class, because Ohio State is awesome). I was just sitting in class, listening to the lecture, when the basic idea for Rose just popped into my head. I liked the idea, so I wrote it down in my idea notebook and set it aside for later.
    Later on, when it came time to do my senior thesis, I decided to write Rose and had that very same teacher from my Science Fiction class be one of my critics for the novel.
    So if anyone ever says a Liberal Arts degree doesn’t pay, point them my way. I benefited so much from one!
  • Rose took fifteen months to get edited for publication, and it was the most anxiety-producing time of my life. I’ve had an anxiety disorder for a few years now, and I’ve been pretty good about keeping it under control and not letting it interfere with my life. That being said, Rose was accepted during the time when I was just learning how to control that disorder, and all the edits and rewrites I had to do to get the book ready for publication just sent my anxiety into overdrive. It took a lot of work to calm me down, let alone get work done on the novel. I was just overwhelmed by it all. Figuring out how to rewrite the story, trying not to disappoint readers or the publisher or myself. Fearing that the story would be hated and then I would be hated because I was the writer. Even just general, irrational fear bothered me on a daily basis.
    It probably didn’t help that I had to rewrite two-thirds of the novel because one of those thirds was irrelevant flashbacks and the other third was dependent on those flashbacks.
    Thankfully, I was able to learn coping strategies and get inspiration on how to rewrite the story. The result was that I was able to put out Rose. And I’m happy to say that none of my anxieties have come to pass.
  • I got to use some of my ballet knowledge in this story. After college, I became a huge fan of ballet, to the point that I and my family actually buy subscription packages to our local company’s shows every year. And in the novel, Rose’s younger sister Maddie is a ballerina.
    In the first couple of drafts, Maddie was a very minor character and her dancing only got one or two mentions. However, when it became apparent that nearly two-thirds of the novel needed to be rewritten, I saw an opportunity to expand Maddie’s role in the story, and thus her career. I even got to teach my editor the word barre, which he thought was an error on my part but which is actually a technical term from the French.
    And since I’m a big ballet fan, you can expect it to appear in another story someday. Maybe even more prominently than it does in Rose. Only time will tell!

What the Readers Say

At the time I’m writing this, Rose has more reviews than any single one of my books. And I’m happy to say that the majority of people have really enjoyed the novel. Here’s what they had to say.

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.

My only criticisms were that sometimes the characters acted in ways I found unbelievable and some of the descriptions and explanations were a little too “on the nose” for me.

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.

(Also, I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was superb!!)

Emma, United States

I didn’t know what to expect going into Rose, but I was intrigued first by the cover, and second by the description. Listening to Rose Taggert’s story as she tries to figure out what has happened to her and why she has no memory of the last two years was fascinating, especially as her boyfriend Paris’ version doesn’t really make sense the more she digs. She learns what obsession and power can do, as she is transformed into something not human, and those she loves are brought into danger. I enjoyed the book, and even though I saw what was coming, the way it came was unexpected. Sara Parlier’s narration was very good, and I look forward to hearing more from her.

Manakalita, Audible

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 Formist Trilogy, Canada

And this is just three of the many reviews Rose has acquired over the past two years. I’d guesstimate that there’s fifty individual reviews across the various websites and platforms. Maybe more.

Granted, not all of the reviews have been positive. I’ve had some one or two-stars here and there. One mixed review was published on a prominent website a month or two ago! Still, reviews like that make me want to work harder and show readers how much I can improve. Hopefully that shows in the stories I’ve written since then and which will be coming out later.

Do You Wanna Check the Book Out?

If any of this makes you interested in reading Rose, I’ll be including links below. I would love to hear what you have to say on the novel. And if you do end up reading Rose, let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, and it helps me out in the long run. Not to mention it helps readers figure out whether Rose is for them or not.

The best way to do so is to leave a review on Amazon/Audible or Goodreads, but I’ll be happy with a mention anywhere.

And thanks again to Paul and the team at Castrum Press, as well as The Golden Quill who did the artwork. It was a great and edifying experience working with you, and I hope we can do so again someday.

Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, Snake’s seven-year publishing anniversary occurred recently as well. The story follows a serial killer hunting members of a powerful Mafia family in New York City. If you haven’t checked that one out yet, either, I’ll include the links below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope I get to hear what you think of Rose (or Snake) very soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

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