Posts Tagged ‘short story’

Why do all my publishing anniversaries seem to happen around the same time this year? I swear, they were slightly more spread out last year.

Anyway, nine years ago, I published my first book, The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones. It was a short collection of stories I worked on when I wasn’t in classes. I was just barely twenty years old, still very new to the world of professional writing and publishing, and very impatient. I saw plenty of writers who were getting success self-publishing their works (some of whom I’m still friends with and who read this blog on occasion), and decided to try it myself.

Honestly, I don’t know how I was able to get a book out. I made mistakes along the way, certainly, and they still show, such as the double “F” in the subtitle on the cover. (Honestly, I became fond of that error after time). But despite all that, this book has gotten plenty of love and some decent reviews over the years. In fact, just a few days ago, my friend, colleague and well-known Follower of Fear Iseult Murphy published a review on her blog. You can read the full review here.

But that’s not the only review The Quiet Game has received. Take a look here:

A good collection of horror shorts with variety and little repeating themes. At the end of each story, the author has a little explanation for them…All in all, it’s a worthwhile read and a good debut for the author. 

Zraitor, Goodreads

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 series, Amazon

5 wonderfully crafted tales! I purchased this as an eBook originally and put off reading it for quite a while, I really wish I hadn’t waited. Sometimes when one purchases a collection of short stories you expect some of them to be less entertaining or of lower quality than the others, but none of these disappoint. Well worth the money, especially considering after you read each story the author gives you creative insight into what inspired him to write each tale, which is really wonderful.

Jeff D, Amazon

As my first book, it warms my little demonic heart to know that people enjoyed it so much and left such kind words. And I’m hoping that by the time we reach the ten year anniversary, the book will continue to gain fans and will let me know what they think.

And speaking of which, if you would like to check out The Quiet Game, I’ll post links below. Will you face the evils of your own vices in the story Addict? Or will you shiver due to the dybbuk in Samson Weiss’s Curse? These and others are available in the collection, so why not check it out? It might scare you, and it’s a good book to read while you wait for Hannah and Other Stories to be released.

(Though honestly, I’d say that about any of my books.)

And if you like what you read, or don’t like it, please leave a review. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me out in the long run. Plus, it lets other readers know whether or not they should check the book out.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I have to send some dybbuks after a Supreme Court justice or two, so I’ll sign off. Until next time, good night, happy reading, and pleasant nightmares!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I was hoping to have some big news on at least one project by now, but…well, you know what they say. Man plans, God laughs. Or maybe it’s Rami plans, the entities foolish enough to be my enemies get in my way. I don’t know.

Anyway, I thought I would just do an update on the many projects I’m working on, as I don’t know when I’ll have any big news on any one of them. And at the very least, it’ll let you know where I’m at with things and with life in general.

Hannah and Other Stories

As many of you know, I have a collection of seven original short stories being released by BSC Publishing Group. And as I mentioned in my post on mental health during the publishing process, BSC is sending stories one at a time with editing notes so I don’t feel overwhelmed with the amount of work I have. Understandable, considering that at least two of those stories are actually novellas.

Anyway, right now I’m just waiting on the next story with edits, which will hopefully come soon. Once it does, I’ll start work on it immediately so I can get back to waiting for the next story again. I’ll keep you posted.

The Pure World Comes

My Victorian Gothic horror novel and love letter to Victorian England, The Pure World Comes follows Shirley Dobbins, a maid living in Victorian England who goes to work for a mad scientist after the deaths of her employers. It was published last year on an app, but now it’s going to be published as an ebook and paperback so that more people can access and read it. At the moment, I’m just waiting on the new cover. Once I have that, I’ll be able to start on the process that will eventually end in putting it online, selecting a release date, and making it available for preorder. Hopefully we can start on all that by the end of the month.

As for an audio version…well, that will depend on a few things, including how well the book does in paperback and ebook. If it does happen, I’ll be over the moon. If it doesn’t, it’s sad but hey, sometimes those are the breaks.

That Which Cannot Be Undone

As many of you know, some of my fellow Ohio horror authors and I formed a small press with the goal of releasing an anthology of Ohio-based horror stories, That Which Cannot Be Undone. At the time of writing this, we have most of the stories from the contributors and the editor is going over them with a fine-toothed comb. My friends and I are also regularly meeting and making sure we stay on time for our October release while also producing one hell of an anthology. We can’t wait for you to read what we’ve created.

Other Novels

Crawler: I know some of you were really excited when I said I was going to write a mummy novel. Those same people were saddened when I put plans to write that on hold due to Hannah being accepted and wanting to focus more on that. That being said, I think I might be able to start working on it later this year. Still a lot of things up in the air, but if nothing else gets in the way, I could start on it before autumn. If I do, I’ll let you know.

Toyland: Still plan to get this bizarre Gothic ghost story published. I’ll probably give it another round of editing before I submit it anywhere, though. It’s a complex story with lots of moving parts, so I want to make sure everything holds up before I let anyone else read it.

River of Wrath: unfortunately, I think I need to put this in the proverbial trunk. I’m saddened, since I still like this story and I had a hell of a time writing it (and for those of you who know what it’s about, pun totally intended). But I’ve had a lot of time to think regarding this novel as I’ve sent it from place to place to place, and I’ve come to realize that, as much as I love the novel, it does not reflect my best work and I don’t think, even if I made changes, it would be that much better. Hell, it might not even be the original novel I set out to write when all is said and done. (Again, pun totally intended.)

So, it hurts, but in the trunk it goes. At least the lessons it gave me will always be with me. And I now know more about Dante’s Inferno than I ever thought possible. Never a bad thing.

Shorter Works

Over the past several months, I’ve been writing a bunch of shorter works. Right now, I’m up to one novella, four novelettes, and three short stories. And yesterday, I started what will probably be a second novella. I like to think they’re all spectacular, though some of them definitely need more work. Anyway, once I’m done with this current project, I’ll spend time polishing them and trying to find homes for these stories before I do anything else that’s new (and that includes Crawler). Hope you get to read them soon!

Anything Else?

Well, there is, but not anything worth writing a paragraph about. At least, not yet. Hopefully I can tell you all about some of the things developing in my life in the near future.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m going to bed. In the meantime, thanks for your continued support of my writing career (and for even reading my books every now and then). Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

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Well, this is embarrassing to admit.

I’ve been reading a lot more slowly lately, so I only just started reading an anthology I was published in last year. Last night, I finally got to my own story, which I consider some of my best work. And I found some editing errors I missed.

It wasn’t anything too bad. A couple of words missing here, a couple of phrases that should have been cut there, and one time I used the word “skeleton” instead of “scream.” Not like a horrible run-on sentence, a ton of spelling mistakes, and punctuation and grammar to make a lover of literature cry.

Still, it was disheartening to see how many mistakes were missed. And while part of that was also on the publisher, I should have been more cognizant of my own work. I should have shown more diligence in finding errors. Maybe even using that feature on Word where the story is read aloud, annoying as that is.

You know, my high school English teacher, Mr. G, used to say that a story is never “perfect,” but “done.” You can only do so much work to a story on it, but you’ll never get it perfect. You can just do enough work on it that you can’t fix it anymore. It’s done. I was aware that that applied to cleaning it up as much as it did to story, but this made me more aware of that.

And my American history professor in college, Dr. S, made an analogy about editing. He said he always got students who got annoyed when they were marked down on grammar and spelling when it was a History class. Why should a few spelling mistakes or whatever make a difference, these students wonder. He said, and this is pretty close to quoting:

Well, if this were an engineering class, would it be okay to have a little bad math? Or if this were a physics class, would it be okay to have a few incorrect equations? If the answer is yes, then let me know what bridges you’ve constructed or what planes you’ve built, so I can know to avoid them! Good grammar is important in History, even if it’s not an English class. And I expect good grammar in your papers.”

Dr. S, American History from 1920-1963, 2014

You can apply that right back to storytelling. No matter how good the story is, if the story has a bunch of grammar/spelling/punctuation errors, the story will suffer. And my story, while still good, suffered a bit with these issues.

I’ll remember reading this story and finding these issues from here on out. I’ll use it so that when any future stories come out, they’ll be as error-free as possible. I can’t stand a story of mine being brought low by my own laziness and missing some errors. I’ll work harder to make sure this is the last time I find a story with such glaring problems (or glaring to me, anyway).

Please stop by if you can. I’ll be selling books and doing Tarot readings.

And if this story gets published again, like in a collection someday, I’ll make sure to fix those errors. God knows I only want to give you all my best work.

Anyway, that all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got a lot of writing to do tonight, so I better get to work on everything else that needs taking care of before then (like dinner and laundry). I’ll hit you guys up after the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo (especially if I get any paranormal activity on camera). Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares.

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!

With the year winding down, I thought I would let you know that I’m scheduled for a couple of events in 2022. Not many, but one is next month, so I figured I might put out a notice in early December. Sorry if you consider this spam in your reader or your email inbox.

First, I’ll be attending the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo in Marietta, OH on January 29th, 2022. This is a cool convention for those who enjoy the spooky and the dark, in a city that is known to have quite a few haunted locations (I’m thinking of taking a vacation there for my birthday next year). In fact, the expo will be held at the Lafayette Hotel, which is said to be haunted to the gills! You can find more information on Hidden Marietta’s website here.

And guess who’s going back to prison (so to speak)? That’s right, I’m going back to the Ohio State Reformatory for ParaPsyCon 2022. This year it’ll be on May 21st – May 22nd, 2022 and again it’ll be at one of the most haunted, if not the most haunted, prisons in America, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. I had a really good experience last year, and I’ve learned from my fellow vendors, as well as my own mistakes, for ways to ensure that I have an even greater experience as a vendor. You can find out more about ParaPsyCon by checking out the website here.

Anyway, thought I’d mention it in case anyone is able to make it, especially the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. I plan to bug you all less this year about my public appearances so you don’t get sick of me mentioning them. Except for news about new conventions and whatnot, I’ll probably only mention them right before they happen.

Anyway, I hope I’ll get to see you at one of these events and maybe read your Tarot and/or give you a signed copy of one of my books.

(And if you can’t, or if you’re looking for some scary reading for you or for friends and family this holiday season, I’ll include links for my stories below. Yes, I’m doing another book ad, but I only do this occasionally, like how I plan to do event notices.)

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll talk to you again very soon. Until next time, good night, Happy Hanukkah, and pleasant nightmares.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about That Which Cannot Be Done, I’ll update you on that in a future post. Probably the next one. Believe me, I have news. But like I said, trying to limit how much I advertise this sort of stuff.

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 Jewish Book of Horror: Amazon, B&N

Dark Nature: Amazon

Nightmare Collective Part 2: Amazon

Into the Deep: Amazon

Well, I’m back from my vacation. I enjoyed making memories in St. Louis, the city I was born in but did not remember; I learned I am not a Las Vegas person, but that the Mob Museum is really cool, as is Zak Bagans’s Haunted Museum (more on that later); and I absolutely fell in love with New Orleans, especially the French Quarter.

Now that I’m back, though, I’ve got work to do. And I don’t just mean my day job (though that will be taking up a good chunk of my time). I’m ready to get back to writing and finding homes for my stories. Here’s what’s on the docket:

The Pure World Comes and Hannah

I’m hard at work on getting a paperback, ebook and even an audio book of The Pure World Comes out next year. The goal date is the first Tuesday of September, September 6. Why that date? It’ll be a little over a year since The Pure World Comes was released on the Readict app, and right as the Halloween season gets into full swing. And a lot of books, including successful ones, release on Tuesdays, so might as well.

Anyway, I’ve gone through the manuscript for TPWC again and cleaned up some of the errors I missed for the Readict version (don’t tell VitaleTek). I’ve looked into some platforms that will get a paperback and ebook onto sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and one that does audio books as well. And I’m talking with some audio book narrators. With any luck, I’ll definitely have the paperback and ebook out on September 6 and the audio book out not too long after, if not on the day of.

As for Hannah, the new collection of short stories that was accepted for publication while I was traveling, I cannot wait to send copies to people I know named Hannah and make them think the titular story is based on them (believe me, it’s not). Also, I was just emailing with the publisher, BSC Publishing Group, today. We’ll soon be starting work on the stories, just as soon as an editor is settled on. Once that’s done, I imagine we’ll go through each story, editing until it’s as close to perfect as possible. Then we’ll discuss a final order for the collection, and then let it out into the world.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on this. The hope is to get Hannah out at some point in 2022, so I imagine things will be hectic moving forward. Still, if people enjoy the book when it comes out, than it’ll be worth it.

And that brings me to my next point…

Crawler

I know I was going to start work on this novel right after I got back from my vacation. And you know, I still want to. However, Hannah is going to take up A LOT of time. In fact, it might take up as much time as a novel might. With all that in mind, it would be a bad idea to work on a new book while editing another. I would keep bouncing back between one and the other, and I would get super-annoyed by how little progress I’m making on Crawler because I have to keep putting it down and work on Hannah.

So, for now, Crawler will have to wait.

Yeah, I know. I was excited for it as well. I even made some edits to the outline the other day and thought it would be a kick to work on. But that’s too much of a balancing act when I’m still working a day job.

Still, I want to work on new stories. I don’t want to just be editing, especially in-between the stories that need working on. Luckily, I have a million ideas for short stories, including about ten that I came up with during my vacation. Not only that, but I’ve had some success lately writing and finding homes for shorter works, and they’re easier to put down if something comes up.

So, when not working on stories in Hannah, I’ll be working on new short stories and novelettes, and hopefully finding homes for them after they’re edited. Not sure which one I’ll work on first, but I’m currently leaning towards one that incorporates elements of Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe (and no, it’s not a pandemic story. I did that already this year). It should be fun to work on.

And eventually, I will get to writing Crawler. It’s just a matter of the right time.

Other Projects

Of course, I also have stories to edit for other publications. “The Hanukkah Massacre,” co-written by Richard Gerlach, will be published in Dead of Winter early next year, and we’ll have to edits for that. Not only that, but I have another project I’ve been working on that I may actually be able to talk about very soon.

So yeah, as it turns out, I’m going to keep being busy this year. Probably into the beginning of next year. Still, it’s better than not having anything to work on. And hopefully all this leads to more people reading my work and letting their friends know to read my work.

One last thing before I sign off, though:

Zak Bagans’s Haunted Museum

If you didn’t already know, Zak Bagans from the TV show Ghost Adventures has a museum in Vegas filled to the brim with haunted artifacts he’s collected over the years from ghost hunting, as well as items donated to the museum. This includes haunted dolls, actual skulls and skeletons, shrunken heads, serial killer murderabilia, and more stuff than I can name! I was there on October 30th, Devil’s Night, for a tour, and then a few hours later I went back for some late-night ghost hunting, what they call a flashlight tour.

And I experienced stuff on both tours.

Highlights include:

  • In the room with Ed Gein’s cauldron and shovel (inspiration for Norman Bates and Psycho, if you don’t know. Look him up), I smelled the smell of cooking meat. Apparently I’m not the only one who smells that in that room, either. Considering he made clothes out of body parts, God only knows what he did with that cauldron!
  • There’s a room with a guitar that might be possessed. It was found on the body of a teenager who died while playing the guitar. I felt so uncomfortable in that room. Nothing really happened in there, and it didn’t have mood music like the basement did (Satanic rituals supposedly took place down there), but it freaked me out anyway. I did not like that room.
  • The Dybbuk Box (inspiration for my story “Samson Weiss’s Curse” and the movie The Possession) had a few things happen. Using a device called a spirit box (it scans through radio frequencies quickly and any voices that come through over multiple sweeps might be a ghost or other spirit), I heard a voice come through saying “dybbuk” multiple times. And at one point, when I asked if anyone was in the room with me, I heard a woman’s voice whisper, “Yes.”
  • In another room containing the remains of a demonically possessed house Zak owned in Indiana before having it torn down, I got some voices through the spirit box. At one point, I asked if anyone wanted to talk to me, a voice responded immediately: “No.”
    Yeah, I thought that was cheeky, too. But that’s not all. Another device called a MEL-meter went off at one point in that room (it measures electromagnetic changes in the air around it) and later, a woman’s voice hissed through the spirit box, “Raaaah!” And I knew it was trying to say my name!
  • Finally, in one room containing a painting taken from Adolf Hitler’s vacation home, Bergdorf, I got voices coming through the spirit box. Apparently, there’s an evil energy attached to the painting and it affects anyone who touches it. I asked if anything evil was attached to it, and a voice came through saying, “Evil.” I then asked if it might be Hitler’s spirit, and I got a “Yes.”
    Not sure if that was actually Hitler’s spirit, as the painting wasn’t near Hitler when he committed suicide. It may have just been an evil energy/spirit messing with me (or nothing at all, if I’m being skeptical). But it made me smile to know that this Jew was standing in front of a painting belonging to Hitler and maybe his ghost and letting him know how bad he failed. I almost went “Neener, neener, neener” to the painting, but provoking the spirits wasn’t allowed.

Oh, and guess who was there? Right before we went into the house to explore for ghosts, we watched a safety information video. Then we split up into two groups. And as my group went around the corner to the building’s back entrance, guess who passed us by and wished us luck? Zak Bagans! I turned to the girl in front of me and whispered, “That was him!” She replied, “I know!”

And yes, he’s as tall as he looks on TV. In fact, I think he’s about a head taller than me. I just find that an interesting detail.


Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have work in the morning, so I’m going to get to bed. I look forward to letting you know what’s going to happen next (whatever that is). Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Raise the banners of all the Dark Lords! Wail in terror and in jubilation! Dance like the flames and music of Hell are moving through you! Halloween is here! I’ll be posting about my Halloween activities later on, my Followers of Fear (believe me, there’s plenty to talk about while I’m in Vegas during this holiday). However, the reason you’re here is because there are new releases today. Two new anthologies and a new issue of a magazine, to be precise. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

The Jewish Book of Horror

From the Denver Horror Collective comes an exciting new anthology! I recently spoke to the Columbus Jewish News about the release of TJBOH (you can read that here if you’re curious), and I mentioned that Judaism and the Jewish people are no strangers to horror. All of our history involves other nations trying to annihilate and subjugate us, so we haven’t had to make up monsters to menace us that much. We have enough of those without using our imaginations.

That’s partly why I’m so excited to be part of this anthology (that, and some good old Jewish pride). As far as I’m aware, nothing like this has ever been released before. We’re literally breaking new ground here! I’m so honored to be part of it. So with that stated, I hope you’ll check out TJBOH and let the readers and writers know what you think. And if you don’t, I’ll make your cholesterol test come back with terrifying results (now that’s a Jewish horror if ever there was one).

The Jewish Book of Horror: Amazon, B&N

Dark Nature: A Horror Anthology

You know, I didn’t think I would get into this anthology. Besides the huge amount of competition to get in, my story “Natural Predators” is a pandemic story, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. However, it was accepted and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

Not only that, but you should get ready to read the rest of the anthology. Thirteen hair-raising horror stories about Mother Nature getting her revenge against humanity for all the shit we’ve put her through in the name of our survival and greed. I’m looking forward to hearing what people think of it. As well as basking in the irony that they may be reading the book in a paperback format. Enjoy!

Dark Nature: Amazon

The Dark Sire issue 9

I was really excited to learn one of my stories was going to be serialized in The Dark Sire. Issue 8, which came out back in July, was full of amazing stories. And not only that, but I heard from people saying they were intrigued by my story “Blood and Paper Skin” and wanted to know how it would end after reading Part One. Well, Part Two is out today in Issue 9 (Amazon link coming soon, so I’ll post that later), and I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone says about it.

I’ll leave links to both issues below. If you haven’t checked out Issue 8, I suggest you check it out and enjoy the stories and poetry within. And for those who buy Issue 9, I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of Part Two of “Blood and Paper Skin.” Things are about to get violent.

TDS Issue 8: Amazon

TDS Issue 9: Website download

One More Surprise…

You guys remember Indie Author Book Expo? It’s the group that held that book expo in Iowa I attended last year, and was hosting the one in Aurora until COVID-19 canceled it. Anyway, the group put together a horror anthology and I contributed a story for it, “Afternoon Tea,” about a haunted silent film. I kind of forgot about it because I got busy, but then the anthology, “Nightmare Collective Part 2,” was released yesterday. The book’s sales will benefit future Indie Author Book Expo events, so if you would like to help indie, hybrid and/or smaller-name authors continue to have venues to sell their work directly to the people, buying a copy and leaving a review could help. I hope you’ll check out “The Nightmare Collective Part 2” and let people know what you think. And I hope you’ll let me know what you think of “Afternoon Tea.”

Nightmare Collective Part 2: Amazon


That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to enjoy myself on this fabulous Halloween day. I hope you will enjoy yourself as well, while also checking out these new additions to the world of horror literature. Until next time, pleasant nightmares and Happy Halloween!

Let’s face it, every creative out there (especially those who weave stories together) has put themselves into their work. Often, they do it more than once, and the resemblance to themselves, accurate or in their own heads, varies from self-insert to self-insert.* HP Lovecraft loved to put himself through cosmic horror and dreamlike ordeals as Randolph Carter (does that count as masochism?), and Stephen King’s The Dark Half is obviously him having fun with a fictional version of himself and his pen name Richard Bachman.

And don’t forget, Dante Alighieri made himself the star of The Divine Comedy, where the poet Virgil and later Beatrice, the dead girl he crept on when she was alive, led him through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.

You know, now that I’m typing this, I realize that a lot of self-insert characters get to go on the biggest, most grandiose adventures. I mean, Dante traversed the afterlife and recorded it in detail! And remember Lani Sarem, the lady who conned her way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list? Her novel’s protagonist, who from the cover art is basically her under a different name, was a witch who basically became the delight of the Las Vegas entertainment scene using her abilities.

There’s an article to be found in this, I’m just not in the mood to research and write it right now.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Self-inserts. I’m no exception to the rule. Throughout my writing career, I’ve included different versions of myself in my stories. One or two have even been included in published stories (I’ll let you guess which ones those are). And once more, I’m inserting myself into the story I’m currently working on. Only this time, this might be the most obvious and blatant self-insert since Dante!

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But it feels like it! My character is basically what I hope will be me in a few years: a full-time writer with his own home, hosting costume parties in his living room and able to focus on creepy tales as a living. His last name is an anagram of my own and his first name also begins with an “R.” So yeah, pretty obvious self-insert.

Still, I’m having fun with it. The story’s focus isn’t on my character, he’s just a good way to get this story going. And since I can focus on telling the story and not making my self-insert seem like the bee’s knees to readers, I can get a little ridiculous and have a ton of fun with it. Whether that will lead to a decent ghost story (because of course I would put myself into a ghost story!) remains to be seen. But perhaps with some edits…well, we’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll get back to this story soon. And I’ll likely have a post or two for you all very soon, so keep an eye out. And in the meantime, check out this book trailer for The Jewish Book of Horror that was uploaded to YouTube last night. It’s really cool, and you can even see my name listed beside my story, “The Divorce from God,” at one point. Give it a watch and consider getting a copy of the book when it releases.

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

*That’s the preferred term, as I understand it.

You know, I meant to get this out earlier, but a lot has happened today. My apologies on that.

So, as you can tell from the above title, I had two acceptances for publication! And get this, the confirmation emails came this morning after I woke up! How about that? Nice thing to wake up to, all told. And it gave me something to tell people when I was out seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while earlier today.

Anyway, the first acceptance is from House of Stitched magazine, the same magazine that published my article on the character trope of the broken child (links below). It’s another article with them, but this time it’s a review of Stephen King’s first Richard Bachman novel, Rage. Yeah, it’s an old novel, but it’s out of print nowadays and as far as I’m aware, no one from the millennial generation, my generation, has ever written a review of it. Thus I read the book and wrote one. I’m interested to hear what people think of my thoughts of the one book King let fall out of print.

The second acceptance is from the Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative. No, not Dublin, Ireland, though that would be cool. Dublin, Ohio (you may recognize it as having been mentioned in my novel Rose). Anyway, last year I co-wrote a short story with my fellow author and Member of the Tribe Richard Gerlach called “The Hanukkah Massacre.” The story follows a pair of feuding Jewish families whose rivalry suddenly escalates one Hanukkah. The anthology we wrote it for originally passed on it, but we kept looking, and now it’s being published in the anthology Dead of Winter from the Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative. We’re both very excited for everyone to read the story.

Man, what a year it’s been. I still can’t believe how many of my stories and articles have been accepted for publication. And there’s always a chance that more stories will get accepted.

It’s funny, but just the other day, I decided to make my writing goal for the rest of the year to ensure I get a few more acceptances before 2022. And now I have two. That was fast! I didn’t even have time to agonize how close the end of the year was coming and how little progress I’d made! I’m sure the brooding would have been epic.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m probably going to watch and review a horror movie soon, so keep an eye out for it. And, of course, I’ll be working on new stories and letting you know if there are any pieces of big news to share. Or random thoughts. Plenty of that, too.

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

House of Stitched magazine: Blurb.com , Amazon