Posts Tagged ‘short story’

So I started up a binge on H.P. Lovecraft again right after the new year. I’m not sure why; maybe I was just in the mood for him, or maybe something I read made me think of good old Mr. Lovecraft and I wanted to pick him up again.Or maybe the YouTube video where I discovered Uzumaki mentioned him, and that did it. Whatever the case, I’ve noticed that the gaps between my binges are shortening with every binge. I first put him down in September 2015 after first buying my edition of his collected works, picked him up again in June 2016, put him down once more the next month and picked him up again in January 2017. I wonder when I’ll be in meeting Mr. Lovecraft again? Early summer, maybe?

Now if you don’t know who H.P. Lovecraft is (and there seems to be a lot of you who don’t), let me tell you about him. Lovecraft was a writer from New England who wrote in the early 20th century, and is considered the father of cosmic horror, a sub-genre of horror that deals with man’s inconsequential place in our universe, and that some revelations about that are so powerful, they cause you to go mad (it’s the kind of stuff that keeps you up at night if you think too much about it).

I started reading Lovecraft two years ago because I heard he was very influential on some of my favorite writers and filmmakers, and each time I delve into his work I like to write my thoughts on him (see Parts 1 and 2 here). So what did I think this time around?

Well, I have to say, the further I get into Lovecraft’s work, the easier it is to read. I’ve mentioned before that he writes like he’s living in the 1820s rather than in the 1920’s, but I think as time goes on, he learned to write in a more contemporary style while still sounding like he was a contemporary of Poe. I’m not sure that the collection I have of his work is chronological, but if it is, then I’m definitely seeing him develop into a better writer. I also think I’m getting a better grasp at what makes Lovecraft so memorable. Before, I probably would have used generalizations, such as “he’s creepy” or “vaguely disturbing.” Now, however, I’m able to point out what exactly about the story sticks in my mind and why it is successful or not successful, such as the mysterious nature of the monsters in one story or the twist at the end of the story in another.

I also think that the stories written in this period (assuming that the stories are ordered chronologically, of course) are much better than his previous works. I got to read one of his famous stories “The Call of Cthulhu,” and I found it very interesting. Not just because it contains one of Lovecraft’s most famous characters, but it has the essence of his cosmology and philosophy in that story. The idea of man as the insects of the universe, and greater beings just waiting to come back and take over is succinctly and powerfully presented through the narrator’s encounters with the titular demon-god’s cult.

Got to read the story with this guy.

 

I also really liked the short story “Pickman’s Model,” about an artist who draws very disturbing paintings in an old colonial home. It was well told, and I really enjoyed the twist at the end, which even I didn’t see coming.Same with “Cool Air,” a short story about a doctor living in an apartment building. I read the list at the end of that story, and I was like, “Damn! That’s actually very clever.”

If there was any story I did not like, then it was the last story I read by him this particular binge, and also the longest. “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” a novella that felt like an acid trip ending  in a Lewis Carroll ripoff.* It was too long, silly trying to be serious, and like I said, the ending rips off Lewis Carroll in the most obvious way. I kind of wish I had skipped over this one.

All in all though, I’m really starting to gain a healthy respect for H.P. Lovecraft. He added a lot to the horror genre, even if he didn’t live to see his influence, and I can see why he’s still read today. I don’t know when I will pick up his work again, but I have a feeling I am in for a treat when I do.

In the meantime, I found out there’s a movie version of “Call of Cthulhu,” so I will try to get my hands on a copy of that. Hopefully I’ll get it soon, and when I do, you’ll hear my thoughts about it.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope to have a new author interview out Friday, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Until then, pleasant nightmares.

*Weirdly, it was an asset he was on. LSD wasn’t invented until year after Lovecraft died, so there’s no way he could have gotten his hands on it. Or Lewis Carroll, for that matter. Which begs the question: if those two were high when they came up with their respective stories, what were they high on?

first-day-first-paragraph-tag

Once more, I’m doing this tag. Why? Because it’s fun. And I still want to see if I can spread it around the Internet. Since I created this tag, I’ve tagged four people. Too soon to tell if #4 has done the tag, but I’ve gotten two of the previous three to do the tag, so the success rate isn’t too bad.

Anyway, here are the rules of the tag:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the month.
  2. Use the graphic above
  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  4. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  6. Ask your readers for feedback.
  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of August, the person you tag has to do it on the first of September), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

Published on February 1st? Check. Used the graphic above? Check. Guy from Slovakia is actually a…Czech. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway, not going to thank myself. That’d be weird. I have explained the rules though, so I’m doing a good job otherwise.

Today’s paragraph is coming from the titular story of my collection of short stories, The Quiet Game: Five Tales To Chill Your Bones. That collection was the first work I published myself, and it’s my most reviewed as well. That’s either because it’s been around the longest or it’s also very short. Or both.

Anyway, enjoy:

It was a tranquil Saturday morning at St. Dunstan’s School for Girls as Traci opened her eyes and stretched. Slipping out of bed, Traci moved past her sleeping roommate and across the hall to the bathroom to shower. As she showered, she couldn’t help but feel like she was forgetting something. She wasn’t sure what, but she knew she had forgotten something and whatever it was, it was important. But what on Earth could she have forgotten? It was Saturday, which meant no required Mass. She had some homework, but she’d get that done after breakfast, and there was nothing to do in town today. What could it be?

Comments? Thoughts? Let’s discuss.

And now to tag someone to start a new chain. Let’s see…I choose my friend Adan Ranie! Adan, you’ve been tagged. I hope you decide to take this up and I hope you have fun while doing it.

That’s all for now. It’s February, so I’m hoping for good things this month. Don’t know what form those good things will take, but anything’s possible.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

Well, I’m writing this at a time I’m normally preparing for bed, but what can I say? When you’re on a roll and nearing the end, you just don’t stop writing.

Now, if you didn’t know, I’m taking a short break from working on Full Circle to work on some short stories. This particular short story, The Red Burst, is one I particularly had fun writing. The story is about a man and his husband who go to visit the former’s sister in a small town, only to find out that something that gives off bursts of red light (hence the title) is driving the residents insane. It’s definitely a dark story, and it’s special too for a number of reasons. One is that this story is very HP Lovecraft-influenced in many ways.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with HP Lovecraft, he’s a horror author who wrote during the first half of the twentieth century, and has become very influential since (see my posts on my forays into his work, Part 1 and Part 2). A lot of his themes include the idea that humanity are ants in the grand scheme of things, that there’s no real meaning to existence, and that there might be things in the universe that are bigger than us and might see us as a food source or playthings. This is called cosmic horror, and I tired to incorporate those themes into The Red Burst. I got so hooked on the Lovecraft aspect of the story, I actually started reading his work again, and I listened to Lovecraft-themed relaxation videos on YouTube while I wrote the story (yes, those are a thing. Look up Ephemeral Rift on YouTube if you’re interested).

Another thing I liked about this story was that I got to incorporate a gay couple into the story. Even better, a Jewish gay couple! I like having diverse characters in my stories, and I know a lot of LGBT Jewish couples, so it was interesting having that sort of couple in the story, portraying not just their relationship but also their faith and how the events of the story affect that faith. I have a feeling though some of those LGBT couples I know will be coming up to me asking if I based the characters on them. The answer to that, of course, is no, because they haven’t done anything horrible enough to warrant that treatment from me.

And a final thing that I enjoyed with writing the story was that I got to use a drone in it! I don’t know why, but including modern elements in horror stories is just a blast for me. It’s like, “look, there’s a powerful demon from Hell, and now there’s an augmented reality game!” Or, “there’s a ghost after me, but at the same time, superhero franchises!” It’s like they don’t go together, but at the same time you make them go together, and it’s an incredible result. Plus with some, like the drone, you feel like there aren’t that many stories with the same elements in them, so you’re kind of exploring new territory. It’s a real thrill.

So what’s next for this story? Well, I’ll give it some time and return to it at a later date to edit it. It’s around 7,500 words, but I’ve discovered quite a few Lovecraft-themed magazines that are open to longer stories, so I may find this one a home. And if it does get published, I think people will really enjoy it. Especially Lovecraft fans who like a story with his themes but without language that was prevalent in early 19th century.

In the meantime, I’ll return to Full Circle ASAP and get to work on finishing that. I still have quite a ways to go, but after working on some short stories involving werewolves, cars, and insanity-causing red lights, I think some gangster science fiction shouldn’t be too hard. I’ll let you guys know if there’s anything new going on when the time comes.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear! Pleasant nightmares!

Well, I’m doing that thing where authors look at the year before and be hopeful about the year to come. And I have to say, 2016 was not the easiest year to deal with. Even the people who called 2015 shitty say 2016 was worse. Many people we cared about, from celebrities to icons to just ordinary loved ones, died. The world was rocked by a number of incidents, big and small, that showed that hate and prejudice is still alive and well in many countries one would consider tolerant (let alone the openly-intolerant countries). Groups like ISIS, and events like Brexit and the American presidential election left people the world over confused and terrified about the future. Illnesses and conflicts and starvation raged, and people suffered.

And movies that were supposed to be great, like Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Ghostbusters, either were terrible or didn’t make the money they should’ve (stuff like that bums me out).

Yeah, this year has been tough. But there have been some amazing things, good things, that have happened this year. We have comedians like Trevor Noah and Jon Oliver and Samantha Bee, who are using their platforms to educate people about existing issues and even find ways to do some good. Thousands of refugees from war-torn Syria and other areas have found homes in more stable countries, and have started rebuilding their lives. Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson are using their fame to fight for issues like feminism and equal pay. Hollywood is putting out more movies and TV shows that reflect their viewers, including black-ish, Speechless, and the Fast & Furious movies, to name a few, and while there are still missteps here and there, this shows that the makers of our media care about our opinions. And we nearly had our first female president! It didn’t happen, and it would’ve been cool if it did, but it still shows how far this country has come in terms of women’s rights. And the world got Tape Face from America’s Got Talent. I swear, I could watch his video every day, he’s so clever with the visual gags!

But wait, there’s more! This from YouTube and Vine star Thomas Saunders on reasons to smile:

God, that’s a lot of good, isn’t it? I wish he would’ve added Lucifer on that TV show listing though. That show makes my day!

On a more personal level, 2016 actually went pretty well for me. Yeah, all the nasty stuff I mentioned up above bummed me out, but there were many good things this past year. For one, my mother got married to her partner of several years, which was made possible by the 2015 Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage nationwide. That was a blast, and something I was glad to see finally pass. My mother and stepmother are so happy together, and I’m glad they get to be together in the eyes of the law as well.

Around that time, I got offered a couple of jobs/internships! One of them was here in Columbus, and it translated into a full position that I’m still working at right now. It’s a great job, where I’m promoting diversity in my organization with an office full of good people, and getting great pay and benefits while I do it.

In addition, my job has allowed me to move out of my dad’s house and into my own apartment, and even to buy new furniture and a new laptop. I’m paying all my bills on time and still have money to save, which is huge for me! And if things continue to go as they are, who knows? I could even get a cat or save up for a dream vacation to the UK and Ireland! I would love for those to happen.

My sciatica has improved! Yes, for those of you who don’t know, I have sciatica, a condition in which a nerve in the back is squished by spinal discs, causing severe pain in one leg and the lower back. I’ve had this since some time around graduation, but over the summer and through fall and beginning of winter, I started doing some new exercises and other stuff to improve my condition. At the time I’m writing this, I feel only mild discomfort, and sometimes not even that. By next summer, I could be completely cured of it!

This got published!

This got published!

But that’s not all. I released a new book, Video Rage, back in June, and it’s finally started to get some reviews! In addition, nearly all of my books have received new reviews this yer, and more people are discovering them every day. Heck, even my coworkers are reading my books! And on the social media side of things, my blog has grown, accruing nearly 900 subscribers, and passing the five-thousand like milestone. And pretty soon, I’ll be passing the fifty-thousand views milestones. One of my posts actually went kind of viral, garnering over nine-hundred views in the first five weeks of being published, and receiving more views since then.

But there’s more! I started the final book in the Reborn City series, and as of the most recent chapter, I’m a sixth of the way through the book! I could have it released sometime next year! I’ve also written several short stories, and I’ve had some great ideas, both for stories and for strategies to make sure more people discover and read my books. I can’t wait to put some of these to work.

Look folks, this has been a tough year. But for everything I’ve said above, and stuff I haven’t said, it’s been a pretty good one too. And while a lot about 2017 looks scary, we can do a lot to make it a great year. It’ll take some work, but we can make 2017 suck less than 2016 did (I can even post about some of my ideas on how to do just that in another post if you guys want), and to achieve all that we ream.

So will I make a thousand followers? Will I publish another novel and some short stories? Will I get an agent or a contract with a publishing company? Will I get a cat or that vacation? Will we cure AIDS, or improve education, or save the environment? Will the new American president be good at his job? I can’t say with any certainty. But it’s what I hope for. And if not, I’ll do all I can to improve that situation.

Happy New Year, my Followers of Fear. May 2017 bless you and leave you with plenty of reason to smile.

tqg cover

Hello again, Followers of Fear. Enjoying your Christmas/Hanukkah/preparations for Kwanzaa/whatever else is going on right now?

Earlier I mentioned that I got two new reviews on separate books, each from the same person (see my last post for the one on Video Rage). And yesterday, when I wasn’t looking, the same shopper, going by the title…Shopper, also left a review of The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones, a collection of original short stories I wrote, and my first published book. It’s my most juvenile of works, but it’s also my most reviewed and definitely one of my most beloved stories, with a rating of 4.1 out of 5.

I think part of the draw is that it’s short, only five stories.

Shopper gave their review the title Samson Weiss was my favorite, in reference to the title of one of my short stories, and rated the book a 4 out of 5. Here’s what they had to say:

This collection had great reviews, I don’t disagree. I kept reading about Addict. I found that story disconcerting. The author chose the very unorthodox second person point of view, which was unsettling, and therefore pretty effective. The story that grabbed my attention was the tormented senator Samson Weiss.

Samson Weiss and the senator were two different characters, but I’m glad they enjoyed the collection, and that they agree with the other reviews:

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.

This is the first time I’ve read any of Rami’s stories. I was very impressed with the wide variety of stories and the way he wove the paranormal into each piece. Paranormal is not something I usually read and I enjoyed this collection very much. The collection reminded me of the Twlight Zone. The descriptions were especially well developed. Keep on writing Rami!

Arthur Siegal

All of the stories were really diverse and fun to read. I also enjoyed the authors blurbs about each stories origination and development. Keep up the good work!

Kim B.

And if I’m lucky, The Quiet Game will continue to get good reviews in the years to come. I know one of my coworkers bought a copy (I left her a very nice message when I signed it for her), so hopefully she’ll leave me a good review after she reads it.

Speaking of which, if you’d like to check out The Quiet Game, I’ll post the links below. And if you do decide to check out the collection, please let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love feedback (though if the past two weeks are any indication, I especially love positive feedback), and it makes me strive harder to be a better writer. And I would love to hear yours.

That’s all for now. Happy Holidays, my Followers of Fear.

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

Hey, Followers of Fear! Long time no see! I’ve been busy trying to get a short story done before November 1st. And tonight, I managed to do it. Car Chasers is a short story that centers around a Fast & Furious-esque race held in a forest where ghosts chase the racers. Yeah, it’s a pretty out there concept, isn’t it? And I think it might make a great movie, even without Vin Diesel in a starring role.

I liked writing this story for a number of reasons. Along with a fun concept, it focused on a particular incident with these races, told through the point of view of an unreliable narrator. Normally, the unreliable narrators I encounter in fiction are jackasses (the main characters of Gone Girl and Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, for example), but the narrator in this story is actually telling it trying to put a good spin on a friend of his, which is different from my normal experience. I also put a few people I know in the story in varying capacities (you’re welcome, Pat Bertram and Melissa Mendel), and named the bad guy of this story after a certain public figure I dislike a lot right now. Yeah, I’m sadistic that way. It’s fun.

So when can you read this story? Well, it’s a first draft, and it’s going to need a lot of work. For one thing, there are some places in the story that could be fixed or trimmed down. As the story is a bit over ten-thousand words, and therefore technically a novelette, I might want to really trim it down if I want to get it into a magazine. If that doesn’t happen, I can see this in my upcoming collection of short stories, Teenage Wasteland. The characters are at the right age, so it’s a good choice for the collection.

In the meantime though, November is just around the corner. And for novelists, that means one thing: National Novel Writing Month. I’ve got the final Reborn City novel to write, and after that, I’m devoting all my time to getting that novel and Teenage Wasteland out as soon as possible.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll see you guys with a couple of posts on November 1st, when I’ll be doing another “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag, and talking about Reborn City and the final novel, Full Circle. Have a happy Halloween, guys. See you soon!

So earlier today, I completed the first draft of Full Circle, the sequel to Video Rage and the final book in the Reborn City series. I’m super excited to have finally reached the point where I’m ready to work on the final book in the trilogy, and I cannot wait for November to start so I can start on Full Circle.

Okay, I can wait, because October is one of my favorite months of the year. Still, very exciting.

Reborn City, the first book in the RC series

Reborn City, the first book in the RC series

So, if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, the Reborn City series is a science-fiction trilogy I started writing back in high school. The first book, Reborn City, was published in November 2013, and the second book, Video Rage, was released in June of this year. The series follows a super-powered street gang in the titular city, and their connection with the shadowy organization that rules over it. The series contains themes of prejudice and intolerance, gang violence, drug addiction, and, most importantly, overcoming what others think of you and what you think of yourself.

I’ve been working on this trilogy since 2009, so it’ll be good to get it done. As to when it’ll be done, I’m not sure. I’ve planned thirty-three chapters in total, which is between the number in Reborn City and the number in Video Rage. Of course, the number of chapters is never a good indicator of how long it’ll be in total, or of how long it’ll take to write. It’s especially hard to gauge when this is the first time I’ll be writing a full-length novel while working a full-time job.

Anyone have a way to divide me into two people so one guy can write and the other can go to work? Anyone? Bueller?

Well, at least I’ve established a writing routine that works for me at the moment. Yeah, that thing I was doing with trying to get 250 words written every writing session? It works very well for me. When I start out, I think to myself, “Just get 250 done, and you can be done.” However, around 150 or 200 words, I’m already deep into the story , and I don’t want to stop if I can help it. And if I can make that work for just the outline of FC, I think it’ll work just as well for the actual novel.

And speaking of which, I plan to start writing Full Circle in November for National Novel Writing Month (I don’t expect to get anywhere near fifty-thousand words, but I can try to get some words in and see how far I go). In the meantime, I have a book I plan to read as soon as possible for research purposes, and I have short stories for Teenage Wasteland that I want to work on, so I’ll be doing those for a while. Have to keep myself busy, right?

Video Rage, the second book in the RC series.

Video Rage, the second book in the RC series.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. If I have any updates, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, don’t expect much from me besides the review of the first episode of season six of American Horror Story (what’s the theme?! Somebody tell us!!!) until October 1st, when I have something big planned.

And if you would like to read Reborn City or Video Rage, I’ll include the links below to purchase a copy. And if you like what you read, please let me know. Positive or negative, I love feedback from readers, and I’m always happy to hear what you have to say.

Until next time.

Reborn City:Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo