Posts Tagged ‘That Which Cannot Be Undone’

That Which Cannot Be Undone. Cover by Greg Chapman. Hopefully to be in bookstores everywhere.

Run for the hills! Hide in your basements! Sound the trumpets of doom! That Which Cannot Be Undone is now set to preorder!

So, if you’re not aware, some of my Ohio horror writer friends and I started a press last year with the goal of releasing a horror anthology highlighting both Ohio horror and Ohio horror writers. “That Which Cannot Be Undone” is the result of that goal, as well as countless hours of meetings, hard work, rallying, writing, and, of course, the pledges of many supporters on Kickstarter.

And, as of this morning, the ebook is available for preorder on Amazon, with a release date of October 11th.

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

Beneath Ohio’s congenial midwestern facade lies a dark underbelly of urban legends, cursed sites, and unseen terrors. From a woman drawn to an underwater town haunted by its last resident to a killer desperately seeking to experience new life through the teeth of his victims, these eighteen stories all take place in the Buckeye State, some drawn from already-known accounts of strangeness and infamous settings, others completely the author’s invention.

Edited by Bram Stoker Award-winner Jess Landry, That Which Cannot Be Undone features works from new and established voices in horror, including Bram Stoker Award-winners Gary A. Braunbeck, Tim Waggoner, Lucy A. Snyder, Gwendolyn Kiste, and Kealan Patrick Burke, and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Megan Hart.

it also includes a story by this guy named…Rami Ungar. Hmmm, I don’t know him. Do you? And is he any good?

Jokes aside, I can’t tell you how excited we are for everyone to read this anthology. It was one thing just to imagine this book coming out, especially as we were looking for ways to make the pandemic go by faster. But then talk turned into research, research turned into decisions, decisions turned into, plans turned into starting a business, the business made more plans, those plans led to the cooperation of several writers, an editor, and a Kickstarter campaign! The Kickstarter campaign surpassed its goal, authors starting submitting their stories, we hired an amazing cover artist who produced a terrifying cover, our editor Jess Landry helped us polish up our stories, and now we have the book ready to release! And very soon, many of you will be reading it.

Down below is the link to preorder the ebook (sadly, Amazon makes it so we can’t offer a preorder for the paperback just yet). I hope you’ll preorder a copy or purchase it when it’s out. And for those of you whose pledges include a copy or two of the book, don’t worry; we’re working hard to ensure you get your copies as soon as possible.

Either way, we hope you’ll read the anthology, enjoy it, and leave a review to let us know what you thought. Reviews are huge boosts for these books and help them find new readers, so we appreciate every review left for us.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I can tell you, October is going to be an exciting month, and not just for all the usual reasons. I look forward to celebrating all the events that are to come.

Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and 42 days till Halloween!

That Which Cannot Be Undone: Amazon

If you don’t know some of the acronyms I use on this blog, you’re probably going, “What the heck is this post about?” Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging.

So, as many of you know, some of my fellow Ohio horror writers and I formed a small press to publish an anthology written by Ohio horror writers. This anthology is called That Which Cannot Be Undone, or, TWCBU, and is made up of some of the best horror writers in Ohio, including Megan Hart, Tim Waggoner, Gary Braunbeck, Kealan Patrick Burke, Lucy Snyder, and Gwendolyn Kiste.

Oh, and this dude named Rami Ungar is part of the anthology. Have you heard of him? I think he’s written a few things.

I’m pleased to announce that not only are all the stories finalized and approved for publication, but we have finalized the cover and are revealing it to the world. So, without further ado, let us not undo reverse course and reveal our new cover!

What do you think? The cover was designed by Greg Chapman, an Australian horror writer and artist (you can find his work on his website here), and we love what he’s done here. It kind of reminds me of the movie Oculus, and it just gives you the shivers! I think we’ll get plenty of readers just from the cover alone.

As for when it comes out, we’re currently on track for an October 2022 release. Once we’re ready to release, we’ll be sure to let everyone and their cousin know so you can get a copy if you so desire. And I hope you do. We put a lot of work into showing just how scary Ohio horror writers can be, and I bet once you read it, you’ll gain an interest in the writers from our state. An interest that cannot be undone.

Yes, I went there. Can you blame me?

On another note, the audio book for The Pure World Comes, or TPWC, was just released on Audible. If you’re not aware, this is my Gothic horror novel about a maid in Victorian England who goes to work for a mad scientist. Think Frankenstein and Crimson Peak had a baby together. The audio book came out last week, but because Audible is owned by Amazon and they dislike it when you self-publish using a service other than one they own, they held it for a week. But now it’s out, so I’m letting everyone know in case they were waiting.

I hope you take a listen to TPWC and if you do, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. Positive or negative, I love reader feedback and it helps me as a writer, as well as helping other readers/listeners.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll check in again soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

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

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!

If you’re reading this, it means two things. One is that I finally have internet at my new condo, so glory hallelujah on that. The other is that I’m probably going to watch the latest episode of Ms. Marvel and get all caught up for the finale on Wednesday (I know where my priorities are).

So, with so much going on in my life and in my writing career, I thought I’d do a post on all the things I’m working on and where I am in them. Given that it’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on certain projects, it felt necessary. And hell, sometimes I need a reminder of all I got going on! It’s a lot to keep straight in this wacky head of mine.

And since that about sums it up, let’s get into it. Without further ado, here are updates on what I’m doing.

The Condo

Off the top, let’s talk about the condo. At this point, I’m almost entirely unpacked and am making a list of projects and changes I want to do for the place. It’s going to be a lot of work (and a lot of cash), but I think I’m up for it. Especially with the help I’ve been getting from friends, family and contractors.

In the meantime, I’m living and liking it here. In fact, I’m planning on posting some photos of the space soon (if I haven’t already), and maybe even doing a YouTube video on my new writing space. And I’ll definitely be posting about homeownership and the search for a home in the future. Is that unusual for this blog? A bit. Is it something I want to talk about here anyway? Yes, so look forward to lots of news about the condo in the future. 

That Which Cannot Be Undone anthology

The anthology project I’m working with my colleagues here in the Buckeye State to highlight Ohio horror and Ohio horror writers is still coming along. We’ve been going over what could end up being the cover art for the anthology, and sending edited drafts of our stories to our fabulous editor. At this rate, we should be on schedule for an October release.

And given some of the stories I’ve read already, it’s going to be an awesome anthology. I can’t wait for you to read it.

The Pure World Comes

Nothing to update here from yesterday, but the audio book is still coming along. Just thought I’d mention it.

Hannah and Other Stories

Back at the end of June, I sent the edits for the second story, Queen Alice, and an initial polish of the third story, The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah, back to the publisher. They’re now looking through the draft and making further recommendations for the story. After that, there are four more stories to edit, and then hopefully we can set a release date for this collection.

Other Projects

I’m shopping around a bunch of short stories and novelettes, trying to find them a home. It’s difficult, but since when has playing the publishing game ever been easy? And I’ve already had some success this year, so there’s a good chance I’ll get a few acceptances.

Speaking of which, The Dedication of the High Priestess is still on track to air on Tales to Terrify at some point this year, so keep an eye out for updates on that.

In the meantime, I’ll be editing They Sleep Within the Rock (AKA the novella where I let my frustrations out and terrorize some white supremacists). I may then let someone beta read it before editing it again and finding somewhere to submit it. Hopefully, someone likes it enough to publish it.

And I might start a new story I just had the idea for tonight. I don’t know why, but it feels like a winner.

But after that…

A New Novel

Yeah, you read that right. I’ll be working on a new novel when I’m not working on other projects. Specifically, I’ll be working on Crawler, the mummy novel I planned to start last year before Hannah was accepted. I actually looked at the outline I wrote last year and have already started thinking of ways to improve the story (including a better working title). Once that’s taken care of and I’ve edited the novella I mentioned, I’ll hopefully get started and create one hell of a horror novel.


Well, that’s all I can think of right now. If I come up with anything else, I’ll be sure to give you all a shout. So, until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares. I’m off to deal with my first supernatural invasion of my condo. Curse you, Undead Moon Bear! You’re scuffing up the hardwood!

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.

Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio.

Been meaning to write this post for about a week now, but life got busy and there was never a good time. Don’t you just hate it when that happens.

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on short stories in-between edits on Hannah. Or shorter stories, seeing as some of them are novelette or novella length stories. Might work on a novel if the itch gets really strong, though I’m not sure if I’ll edit Toyland again or finally start on Crawler. But for this particular story, which I’m guessing will be a novella, I had a particular location in Columbus that I wanted to check out as a basis for the setting.

I’ve been to the Jeffrey Mansion many times when younger. I used to live a few minutes away from it and sometimes would play on the playground or walk the woods on the property. But I had never been inside before and had never heard of it being potentially haunted.

Then I discovered this video:

I thought since it was so close and easily accessible, and since I had a story in mind taking place in a similar location, I thought I would go and see it. Sadly, I didn’t find any evidence of hauntings. Just a weird moment when, in the library, the camera app on my phone started acting weird and wouldn’t work again until I left the room again. That being said, I could only access the first floor and basement, as the upper floors were reserved and off-limits to visitors. Also, it was daytime, so I couldn’t do a proper investigation. Perhaps the mansion is haunted and there are spooky things just waiting to be found.

Probably not the woman in white or the hanging man spirit from the video, however. The former is likely kids being afraid of the then-living janitor of the premises, and the original owner died in a hospital in the 1960s, so it’s unlikely he’s the hanging ghost if there is one.

But that’s not the point. The point is, I don’t get to stop by actual locations for research for stories that often. Sure, I’ve been to locations and used them as the basis for stories later on, but never to a location with a story already in mind. Going there, walking the grounds and taking photos of the lower two floors, my mind was moving at a thousand miles an hour and thinking up all sorts of great details for the story.

In the garden room: “This would probably double as a ballroom for parties. Oh, and this room will be an important location for the story. That will be in here.”

The tiny staircase hidden in the garden wall: “Ooh, I wonder if I could make use of this somehow. Maybe as a location to meet?”

The dance studio: “Didn’t know this was down here. But it works for me. Some of my characters are dancers, after all.”

It’s just insane how much of a boon my imagination got from coming here. It really helped me develop plot points and the location my story would take place in, right down to the location’s history and what would happen in which rooms. If I ever get a chance, I would like to go to another location for a specific story in mind, just to see what would happen to my brain and to the story. Who knows? Doing so might help me create my best work yet.

Anyway, that’s all for now, My Followers of Fear. Next up for me is to do some edits for the short story I’m using for That Which Cannot Be Undone (that’s still coming along wonderfully) and then, if there are no new edits for Hannah, I’ll get started on this new story. And, of course, I’ll let you guys know if anything exciting comes up.

In the meantime, enjoy more photos of Jeffrey Mansion. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

First photo of the mansion. Beautiful Jacobethan structure. I would love to do a full paranormal investigation there or see it used in a movie based off my work.
Side view of the mansion. Kids at the preschool get picked up there, though I imagine it was used to drop off important guests once upon a time.
Close up of the mansion’s entrance. It’s pretty striking.
Back of the mansion. It looks like it could be a movie set someday. I know plenty of kids like to use them while playing on the playground nearby.
Back of the carriage court. Back in the day, it was where the owners stored their carriages and cars. Now, it’s used as event space.

I should be in bed now, but I can’t! I’m too energized, too excited, too joyous! That Which Cannot Be Undone, the anthology my friends and I have been trying to create, is fully funded!

So, if you’re new around here and have never heard of this anthology, then let me first say hello. I’m happy to have you reading my blog and showing interest in my career as a writer. Secondly, over the course of the pandemic, some of my fellow Ohio horror writers and I came together to form our own publishing press, Cracked Skull Press, with the goal of putting out an anthology of stories that emphasized writers from our state. Furthermore, the stories would all be set in Ohio and would revolve around the theme “that which cannot be undone,” which became our eventual title.

To fund this project, we launched a Kickstarter campaign back in late November, and worked our butts off to get noticed and to get people to pledge to support us. I’m proud to say, with four days left of the campaign, we are fully funded and have exceeded our funding goal!

There are so many people I want to thank. To the people who pledged, of course, you get a huge thank you. We literally could not be doing this without your help. An even bigger thanks to the people from this blog, my Followers of Fear, who pledged their support. It means a lot that you support my projects and my career, and I’m so happy to have you supporting this one. To the writers who said they would contribute works to our anthology if we were fully funded, and to the many individuals who posted and promoted the Kickstarter, we also extend a big thank you. We can’t wait to showcase your stories and list your contributions in the Donor section. And to the other members of Cracked Skull Press, Ray Pantle, Randall Drum, and David Day, I’m so glad to be working with you and can’t thank you enough for the hard work you put into this project. There will be more hard work from here on out, but I’m sure we’ll be up to the challenge.

And if you still want to be part of this project in some way, there are still a few days left of the anthology. You can still pledge your support and thereby help us in case we encounter further costs to this anthology. Or if you’ve already pledged, you can increase how much you pledge before the end of the campaign. You can do so using this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

I’m so excited right now, my Followers of Fear. I can’t wait to tell you what’s coming next with this project and our eventually publication in October 2022. As with all my other projects, I’ll make sure to keep you updated on this one, right up until it’s out in print/ebook.

And yes, don’t worry, this won’t be the last project from Cracked Skull Press. We’ll have plenty of ideas for further projects. Keep an eye out and get ready for great stuff on the horizon.

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

I know I said I’m trying to cut back on this self-promoting stuff, but you have to admit this is a good enough reason to post.

So, as you all probably know by now, some writer friends of mine and I formed a publishing press, Cracked Skull Press, and are doing a Kickstarter campaign for our first anthology, “That Which Cannot Be Undone.” Every story within the anthology will be set in Ohio, written by Ohio horror writers, and center around the theme “that which cannot be undone.” If we make our funding goal, we plan to release it in October.

And guess what? As of today, seven days before the end of the campaign, we’re just $999 away from making our funding goal! I know! You cannot imagine how excited we are by reaching this milestone.

Of course, we need your help to reach the finish line, so we would be honored if you would pledge your support to the anthology. Folks who do will be listed in the Donors section at the end of the book, but you can also get an electronic and print copy of the anthology sent free of charge; signed copies of books by the contributing authors; amazing swag, including Ohio horror-themed Tarot cards (you’ll plotz when you see who’s on the Death and Devil cards); and for our highest pledges, you could come to our release party with a plus one! You can use the link here to contribute: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

And if you’ve already pledged and want to pledge more, you can use the “manage pledge” feature on Kickstarter to increase your pledge. Just saying.

Anyway, thank you all for pledging and sharing the Kickstarter campaign. Working on this anthology has been such a journey and we’re so glad to see that it looks like we might reach our funding goal. And we at Cracked Skull Press know we wouldn’t get this far without you. We can’t wait to show you your support and faith was well worth it.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I just wanted to log on and let you all know where the campaign stands. You’ll hear from me again about this on the results of the campaign. In the meantime, one more thing I want to mention:

A week from this Saturday, January 29th, 2022, I’ll be at the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta, Ohio for the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. It’s a convention full of ghost hunters, psychics, paranormal enthusiasts, and one or two authors like me, which you know is going to be fun! I’ll be there signing books and doing Tarot readings, so I hope to see you there!

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

I’ve been wanting to post something for the past several days, but I have nothing to really post about. But I’ve been getting antsy and current events are not helping (type “Texas synagogue” into Google and you’ll understand why), so I’m blogging about things going on in my life. If only just to distract myself and to let you all know I’m still alive.

And if you Googled what’s happening in Texas, please pray to the deity of your choice that everything turns out alright.

So, in my personal life, things aren’t too bad. Work was a little crazy during the first week of January (which is pretty much par for the course), but this week things got calmer, so I didn’t feel like tearing my hair out. And all month, I’ve been looking for a new apartment to move into when my lease ends this summer. I’ve got a few possibilities already scouted out and am on the waitlist for, so hopefully I’ll have a better idea on where I’ll be living soon.

On the writing front, things have been crazy! The work for the Kickstarter campaign has taken up quite a bit of my time (more on that in a bit). However, I have found time to write, or at least attempt to write. As I said in a previous post, I’ve been working on a story where I terrorize neo-Nazis, and that’s been going well. Actually, while finishing up the most recent chapter of that, I managed to fix a few problems with the logic of the story and cut out a superfluous character. It’ll still take me some time to get the first draft finished, but I think it won’t be too bad once it is. It’ll be in need of a lot of editing, but it won’t be half-bad.

On another note, the Kickstarter for “That Which Cannot Be Undone,” the horror anthology I’m helping to create, is 77% funded! Yeah, pretty amazing, huh? We think we can reach our full funding by the time the campaign ends in twelve days, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure that happens. In the spirit of that, I’m offering up signed copies of my books Rose, Snake and The Quiet Game for people who pledge to the campaign. So if you want to read some of my works (signed, no less), and help support the career of me and fellow Ohio horror authors, this is a great opportunity to do so. You can use this link to pledge: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

77% and counting. Why not join us?

As for the other projects, the paperback and ebook editions of The Pure World Comes is on schedule. I’ll be reaching out to a cover designer I’ve worked with before on the cover soon, and once I have that, I can start uploading/formatting the actual book on a publishing platform. And I’ll be starting work on Hannah and Other Stories soon, as well as following up on some submissions this weekend. With any luck, I’ll be able to post a real update on something soon.

Anything else? Oh yeah: in about two weeks, I’ll be driving over to Marietta, Ohio for the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo. It’ll take place on the 29th at the Lafayette Hotel, and I’ll be selling books and doing Tarot readings while there. Hope you can make it!

Well, that’s my update. I’m off to heat up dinner, watch a movie, and then do a late-night writing session. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and please pray for what’s happening in Texas.

I’m not so sure anymore.

Of course, it seems like gospel that the first sentence of a story is important. It’s your hook, isn’t it? It’s how you get the reader into the story. You should put as much thought into that first line as you would as asking your significant other to marry you!

But I’m not convinced anymore. That may be strange, considering how often I used to (and sometimes still do) the #FirstLineFriday meme on this blog. You know, that thing where I post the first line of a story and hope it gets you into the story? But then again, maybe that’s why I’m unconvinced. I’ve posted first lines so many times, I’ve recognized how little effect that they have on the total story.

And you know, if you look at some famous books, you kind of see that. Harry Potter‘s first line is “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Most Muggle-ish opening you’ve ever read. It doesn’t really hint at what’s to come in the story, and I honestly would have cut it from the final product if I had edited the first book.

And Stephen King’s stories don’t usually have those sorts of openings. The first line of IT goes like this:

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years–if it ever did end–began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”

It’s a nice opening, but it doesn’t exactly scream…well, going to make you scream. It’s actually kind of mellow. And the opening for Needful Things is even more unassuming: “You’ve been here before.” Kid you not, my first time listening to that book on audio, I had to repeat it a few times because it was totally unexpected and confused me a bit. Only as you keep reading does the opening make sense with this story.

Maybe this is why some books have poems, excerpts from other famous stories, Bible verses, or even song lyrics at the beginning, before the story even starts. You read those little epigraphs (that’s what they’re called, I check) and keep reading to see how it relates to the story you’re taking in.

in any case, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not the first sentence, or even the first paragraph, that’s responsible for making a story’s opening catchy. It’s maybe the first couple of paragraphs or the first page. When the author sets up the story, the characters, the setting, that you really get pulled into the story.

The opening of the story should be like opening a door to guests. Yes, that’s important, but what’s inside is even more important. Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

That’s certainly the case with my current story, where I set up a nice, rural setting, something kind of idyllic…and then one of my main characters reveals that he’s a neo-Nazi. It’s a stark contrast from the first paragraph that takes the reader off-guard, and hopefully will get them reading further along. I’ll have to finish the story first to see if that’s the case, however.

Anyway, the first sentence is important, but it’s not the most important thing about a story. Rather, it’s just the opening of the door and allowing people to take a quick look before stepping inside. What’s beyond that is what’s truly important. You just have to make sure to open the door and open it well.

But what’s your take, Followers of Fear? Let’s discuss openings and if the first lines of a story really are as important as we make them out to be. I’m curious to hear what you think on the subject. Maybe more of you will agree with me than I imagine.


Happy New Year, my Followers of Fear. I wanted to start this year off with a post that’s reflective on the craft of writing, as I enjoy writing those posts. Anyway, I hope you’re having a good 2022 so far. Mine’s been rough so far, but that tends to be the case with the first full week of January. And at least there’s a lot to look forward to right now: editing and releasing Hannah and Other Stories; putting out the paperback and ebook copies of The Pure World Comes; conventions and expos; maybe a bit of travel; and, of course, some good reading and writing.

Oh, speaking of conventions and expos, I’ll be at the Hidden Marietta Paranormal Expo on the 29th in Marietta, Ohio. If you can, stop by the Lafayette Hotel and maybe I’ll sign your book and read your Tarot.

Also, the crowdfunding campaign for That Which Cannot Be Undone is at 58.5 percent! We’re over halfway funded and we just keep going! And if you would like to help me and my fellow Ohio horror writers put out an amazing anthology of horror stories set in our state and revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone,” click on the link here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology. There are also some amazing perks to pledging, like candles, Ohio-themed Tarot cards, copies of the book, and even end up in one of the stories! How cool would that be?

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope to have more stuff to tell you soon. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!