Posts Tagged ‘Rose’

If you’ve been with me a while now, you know I’ve become a fan of The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers. First published in 1895, the important stories in the collection (and the best ones) revolve around a play called The King in Yellow, which is so twisted that reading it can drive you mad (or make you a slave to the titular entity, if you believe he’s real). The collection has proved influential and has been touted as a classic by many horror writers, including HP Lovecraft, as well as being partially integrated into the latter’s Cthulhu Mythos.

I read the collection after hearing about it last year, and since then, I’ve become a little obsessed. I bought my own copy of the collection, I wrote a short story called “The Dedication of the High Priestess” that combines the character and the lore with ballet (this story will be narrated on the Tales to Terrify podcast some time before the year is out), I created some AI art of the figure, and now, I am the King in Yellow. For Halloween, at least.

What do you think? I went with something more simplistic than I originally planned (big white gloves, an ornate crown resembling antlers and tree branches), and boiled it down to a robed figure with a mask. However, that’s basically the things that most people agree upon when it comes to the character’s appearance, so it works. And I even got a photo of me holding my copy of the collection like it’s the play itself. I think that’s a nice touch.

Credit for the photos go to my sister, Adi, by the way. She did a great job taking the photos this afternoon.

Anyway, I look forward to wearing this costume to events like A Night of Horror at the Bexley Public Library and the Local Author Book Fair at the Licking County Library, as well as hopefully to a party or two (my exact plans for Halloween are still up in the air). And even if people don’t know who the character is, this might get them to read the collection, or at least look him up. But hopefully the former, because it makes for some great Halloween reading.

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for something spooky to reading this Halloween season, might I recommend some of my books? I have four books out now and they’ve all been received well. Some readers have even found them quite terrifying. I’ll include a quick summary of the stories and links to check them out below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you liked my Halloween costume. But tell me, what are you planning to dress up as this Halloween season? Do you have any big plans? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares and only 43 days till All Hallows Eve!

The Pure World Comes: A maid goes to work for a mad scientist and gets wrapped up in his experiments. Terror ensues. Gothic horror novel. Very Frankenstein meets Crimson Peak.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, Chirp, BingeBooks, LIbro.Fm, Storytel, Google Play

Rose: A young woman gets turned into a plant/human hybrid (and that’s just the start of her problems). Fantasy-horror. Very Kafkaesque and has a lot of Japanese mythology mixed in.
Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

Snake: A serial killer hunts mobsters in New York City. Who is he and why is he killing? Slasher horror. Think John Wick, Taken and Friday the 13th got smooshed into a horror novel.
Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones: Five creepy tales from my early writing and publishing career that will entertain as well as scare you. They’re weird, eerie and a lot of fun. You know, like their author.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

55 days till Halloween! Who’s excited?

You’re probably wondering what this is about. Well, a little while ago I heard about a contest for horror fans called the Face of Horror. What’s it about? Well, various horror fans and creators sign up to show that they are the greatest horror fans there are. The Face of Horror, if you will. And over the coming days, you’ll be able to vote for the candidate of your choice.

Guess who signed up as a contestant?

That’s right, me. I mean, can you blame me? And what happens if I actually win? Well, I’ll earn $13,000; get to stay in Buffalo Bill’s house from Silence in the Lambs for two nights (apparently it’s a real place in Pennsylvania); a walk-on role in the next movie of the director running the contest, Jim Vendiola; and a photo shoot with Kane Hodder, the only actor to play Jason Voorhees more than once, let alone four times, in Rue Morgue magazine! And all I need is your votes.

Now, I know you guys don’t owe me a thing and there’s no reason for any of you to help me. However, even if I don’t win, this could be a good opportunity for me. By participating, I might get even just a little bit of exposure, which may help me find some new readers. And if I end up winning, this could be a huge boost to my career! I could end up meeting all sorts of new people and followers through this contest.

Plus, you would have my gratitude in helping me move forward through the contest and hopefully furthering my career.

So, how do you vote? Click on the highlighted link below, and it’ll take you to my profile. You can cast one free vote per day during the contest, and can purchase additional votes (a portion of proceeds from purchased votes going to the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research and financial assistance for families of patients). All you need is a Facebook account and/or a valid credit/debit card (especially if you intend to purchase more votes).

Anyway, this post being out means that the contest has begun, and the first round will go until September 15th. That’s at least ten chances for each person to vote. I hope you’ll consider voting and helping me out with moving onto the next round. Who knows? You may end up helping me further my dreams by leaps and bounds just with your support.

The Face of Horror — Rami Ungar


One more thing: I’ll be at the Mystics and Marvels fair on Saturday and Sunday, September 10th and 11th, from 11 AM – 6 PM, at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard, Ohio. This is a really cool convention with Tarot readers and fortune tellers, stones and crystals sellers, and, of course, authors. I’ll be at the chapter for the Ohio chapter of the Horror Writers Association, HWA Ohio, so stop by if you can. You can check out more information at the website here.

And on Saturday, September 17th, the Pickerington Public Library is holding an Author Spotlight Event for Ohio authors at their location in Pickerington, Ohio from 10 AM – 2 PM. I will be signing and selling books at a spooktacular table, so I hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

And if you can’t make it to either event but would still like to support me (in addition to voting, of course), you can always check out one of my books and let me know what you think when you read it. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me in the long run. I’ll include links below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll check in again soon. So until next time, happy voting and pleasant nightmares!

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

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.

Happy Birthday to the blog,
Happy Birthday to the blog.
Happy Birthday to Rami Ungar the Writer.
Happy Birthday to the blog.

It’s crazy to think that this blog has been around for eleven years. I’ve told this story before, but I remember when I started this blog in the library near my mother’s house the summer before I went off to college. I hardly knew what I was doing back then. I just knew that blogging might be a good platform to build an audience before I released my first book (which was an inevitability in my mind). And during those first two years of blogging, I was lucky to get one or two views a day. I could have given up plenty of times and this blog probably would’ve passed into obscurity without so much as a whisper.

But I’m pretty stubborn about this sort of thing, so I kept at it. And eventually, opportunities came my way, the blog got noticed and grew.

And now, here I am. I’m not going to go into all the crazy numbers, but I’m approaching 1400 followers on this blog, some of whom have become dear friends of mine, and the blog itself has been viewed over 145,000 times! These days, I average around 50-60 views a day, and at least a couple of likes and comments per post.

And some of you even read my books on occasion. A growing number of you, actually. That’s been a big boost to my creative drive and has spurred me to keep writing and blogging.

And I’m hoping that this next year, I’ll be able to continue to share good news with you. We should see the release of The Pure World Comes audio book, the release of That Which Cannot Be Undone and Hannah and Other Stories, plus a short story or two. But what else? Only time will tell. And I look forward to updating you on the progress of my stories and careers.

And I hope you all continue to support me. Whether it’s reading/liking/commenting/following this blog or reading my books, or both, you’re all helping me along and I can’t express my gratitude enough!

Speaking of which, I’ll leave links to my works down below. If you enjoy horror and want to support a smaller author, or you’re just looking for something new to read, reading my books is a great way to do either. And if you do read one of my books, I hope you’ll let me know what you think somehow. Doing so not only helps me as a writer, but helps other readers decide whether or not to check out my books.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be back soon with another blog post or two. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

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.


Oh, before I forget, the West Virginia Penitentiary Paracon will be occurring on Saturday, August 13th at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia. Doors open at 11 and close at 5, and there will be authors, psychics, ghost hunters, paranormal investigators, and so much more. I’ll be selling books and reading Tarot cards and I’m looking forward to meeting people. Hopefully I’ll meet some already-committed Followers of Fear. You never know!

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

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

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 editing process can take a toll on authors’ mental health, no matter their experience.

As I’ve mentioned more than once (especially during the past few weeks), the publishing process for Rose was something of a roller coaster for me. At least, it was on the mental health scene. There were days and weeks I was feeling on top of the world, and then there were weeks where I was freaking out and wondering how the hell I would ever get this novel into a state fit for publishing.

It’s been nearly three years since Rose was released, and I’m older, wiser, and I want to say calmer. However, I know that roller coaster could start up again during the editing process of Hannah and Other Stories, so I’m writing this post. Both as a reminder to myself, and to help anyone who might go through something similar with their own upcoming books.

Here’s are some tips for getting through the editing of publishing of your upcoming book and the mental health rollercoaster that it is.

First off, remember that this is natural. There’s nothing wrong with you, you shouldn’t be expected to stay happy because you’ve got a book coming out (whether it’s your first or your 247th), and every author goes through difficult periods in life. We have human brains, and those brains, while being the most advanced supercomputers on Earth, have some quirks built in. Our neurochemicals don’t always act naturally, and life can upset those chemicals as much as genetics. So if you’re having a bad period, don’t heap further stress on yourself by being upset with yourself. Just remember that this will pass and good periods will happen as well.

Our brains. Great supercomputers, but they aren’t perfect. So these feelings are natural.

That being said, if your feelings become too much or last for prolonged periods, consult a licensed doctor/psychiatrist/therapist. They may be able to help you with medication, the talking cure, and strategies for coping with those wacky neurochemicals.

And that brings me to my next point: have a support network and coping methods in place if you can. I know everyone’s circumstances are different, but it really helps to have someone to talk to or multiple people who can come together when you’re feeling down. Having those people who will stand by you and help take your mind off of the craziness of the publishing process can make things all the more bearable.

Not to mention those coping strategies. Taking some time for self-care when you need it improves things immensely. I already have Sailor Moon DVDs awaiting me in my room and ice cream in the fridge. Those are my comfort foods and anime, and they got me through more than a few crazy nights. Not to mention that methods such as hypnosis and meditation, going for a run or dancing, a nice drive, a good book and so many other things, can really help when your mental health starts to spiral.

That being said, certain coping mechanisms should only be done sparingly. For example, I tend to eat more sugary foods and drink alcohol when I’m under stress. Not the healthiest way to deal with my feelings, so I have to be careful not to do it too much.

Okay, now that we’ve gone over the self-care stuff, here are some practical tips when it comes to the editing and publishing of the book:

  • Edit in chunks or manageable blocks. This is something BSC Publishing Group, which is publishing Hannah, is doing with their clients. Rather than sending notes for the entire book all at once, they send notes for a few chapters or a single story at a time. That way, neither author nor editor is overwhelmed by the process and it feels more collaborative.
    I kind of like it, as it means I have less of a giant workload to get through, and I can work on other projects in-between chapters. And if you like it, maybe talk to your editor or publisher to see if you can do something similar.
  • Expect big gaps without activity. You know how you have to wait several weeks or months to hear if a short story is accepted or rejected by a publisher? It’s even worse with a book. Case in point, three months would often go by between submission of a new draft of Rose and getting new notes. And the time between acceptance of Hannah and the first round of notes was about six months.
    So no, you didn’t do anything wrong. And no, the publisher isn’t ignoring you. They’re just juggling a lot of projects, and they have to devote time to all of them.
  • Approach each issue/suggestion individually. Finding out your stories has issues, such as a plot hole or a character that doesn’t make sense, or a scene that doesn’t work like you thought it would, can seem insurmountable. Just know that every novel and collection has issues that need work on, including great ones. For Rose (which I like to think is great), after I got my anxiety under control, I went after each problem individually. First I handled the main problem with the antagonist, then the issue presented with the amnesia, and then the monumental problem with the flashbacks, which led to two-thirds of the book getting rewritten.
    Hopefully that won’t happen to you (though on the plus side, it did rid the book of some problems later in the draft). But taking it one problem at a time does yield results over trying to tackle, and agonizing over, all of them at once.
  • Remember, the publisher believes in your book enough to publish it. Sometimes, editing the book and guessing what people will think of it, we tend to doubt our own abilities. But remember this: the publisher believes your book is not only good, but it’s good enough that it’ll sell copies and they won’t take a loss on it. And that’s in an unedited state with issues!
    So if you could write something that good in that state, you’re more than capable of getting it up to scratch for publication. Just keep reminding yourself that and it might boost your spirits a bit.
  • Finally, keep reading and writing. During the quiet periods in-between drafts or before you go to bed. When you’re wondering how to tackle a problem with your book or when you’re just looking for some down time. When inspiration strikes you or when the new book by your favorite author comes out. Just keep reading and writing. Do it because you love it. Because it’s nice to get lost in imaginary worlds with imaginary problems and imaginary people. Because it’s relaxing and a great way to let the problems of the world slip away.
    Plus you occasionally get insights from the stories of others to improve your own stories. But that’s not important. It’s important to just sit down and enjoy these activities, because they’re what got you into the storytelling business in the first place and have led you here. And they will lead you onwards from here too.
Rose had plenty of issues before publication, and Hannah still has its share. Still, the publishers for both believe/believed in them to publish them, and that’s an important thing to keep in mind.

Well, those are my thoughts on mental health and the publishing process. I’d include some stuff on marketing, but then we’d be here all night. Anyway, I hope you found these tips helpful. If you think of anything I missed, feel free to put it in the comments. And if you have a book you’re working to get up to snuff for publishing, I wish you the best of luck. You’re in the middle of a tough journey, but you can get through it. And if you managed to get through the trials of writing and editing the book in the first place, you can get through the trials of getting it in shape for the publisher.

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

The placeholder cover I made for Hannah and Other Stories. I can’t wait to show you all the official cover someday soon.

Well, the story I was writing for that one anthology will have to be put on pause. Good thing I don’t have to submit till June.

So, as many of you are aware, back in October I signed with BSC Publishing Group to release a collection of short stories. The collection is going to be called Hannah and Other Stories and will consist of seven short stories, novelettes and novellas, including: Hannah, which follows two ghost hunters whose latest investigation has consequences for multiple people; The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah, about a young girl’s relationship with a budding psychopath; and Poor, Unfortunate Souls, in which a rave underneath the streets of Paris receives an unexpected and horrifying guest.

Anyway, since I signed that contract, some time has passed, and I’ve been writing and editing stories like crazy so I don’t get rusty. And today, I finally received the first round of edits. And it looks like I have a lot of work to do!

Man, I wish all those edits I’d done back in spring and summer last year were enough to spruce up the stories. But I guess I wasn’t so lucky.

On the bright side, I still have some pretty clear memories of when I edited Rose back in 2018 and 2019. That was the last time I edited an entire book with a publisher, and it was quite the learning experience. Given what I remember, I will take it story by story, part by part, and try to identify the same issues my editors did, as well as using their suggestions to improve the story.

I will also make sure to take care of my mental and emotional health. It’s not something that’s talked about enough in the writing community, but this path we walk takes a toll on us writers. And that’s especially true when it comes to publishing an entire book! When I got the first edits back on Rose, for example, I went into a tailspin of anxiety. There were a lot of issues with the novel, a couple of which led to me rewriting around two-thirds of the book. Needless to say, I was upset with myself that I missed so many issues and worried I wasn’t going to be able to fix them. It took a lot of work for me to calm down again and start to work on the book again.

This time around, I’ll be better prepared. As I said before, I’ll take each story one at a time, and I’ll try not to let the issues with each story get under my skin. After all, not only have I been through this ordeal before, but I wrote these stories already and the publisher thought they were decent enough in their imperfect state that they wanted to publish them. If I was able to do that, I can edit the stories to a state where they can be released.

Plus, I have a support network I can rely on if things get to be too much, and I’ve already ordered my comfort anime from the library (nothing like a Sailor Moon binge to make you feel refreshed). Add in some ice cream and the occasional pizza delivery, and I’ll be fine.

Anyway, I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of the book, as well as my other projects. I may also write a post on maintaining your mental health during the publishing process at some point. In the meantime, if you’re looking forward to Hannah and can’t wait to read it, or you need something to read in the meantime, I’ll include links to Rose and my other books down below. Who knows? You might just find your new favorite horror story down below. Let me know what you think.

And please also check out the anthology Dead of Winter from the Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative and Spark Street Media, which contains the story “Azazel Dances” by myself and Richard Gerlach. It’s a great story inside a great anthology, so why not check it out?

And with that, I’ll take my leave. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

Dead of Winter: Amazon

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

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

The Pure World Comes: Readict app (free with ads)