The other day, I posted about my recent adulting experiences (how typical is it of the Internet era that the age and mode of responsibility is now a verb that I fully embrace as part of the English language?). Funnily enough, after I wrote the first draft of that post (yeah, there were a couple of drafts to that strange, slightly stream-of-consciousness post), I realized that during all the times I listed stuff I was doing that counted as “adulting”, I didn’t list writing. For some reason, writing doesn’t count as adulting.

This struck me as kind of odd. Why doesn’t writing, an activity that is essential to just about every business and so many different professions, not count as adulting? Well, actually it is. Typing up forms and reports, sending emails, writing a speech. Those are all adult activities, and they’re so important that the basics are taught to us from a very young age.

But creative writing–writing fiction, creating poetry, and maybe even journalism–are not treated as adulting activities. And I think that’s because, unless you’re making quite the income from these activities, people don’t treat them as a job or as an activity up there with paying your bills or making your own meals. I’ve talked about how people don’t see writing as a job before (too bad that post didn’t change as many minds as I would like), and a lot of the points I made in that post still hold true. People still don’t see writing as on par for a job.

There are a number of reasons for this. One is that people think of authors and see someone sitting in front of a notebook/typewriter/computer and magically bang out a story with little to no effort. Now, the reality is very different, but perceptions are hard to break, and the belief persists that writers are hardly expending any effort in their work. And as adulting kind of involves expending energy and doing hard work, the definition is at odds with the perception.

This isn’t considered an adulting activity.

Another reason that people might not see writing as adulting is because it’s filling a creative urge that most associate with our inner child. I know, this might be a bit of a stretch, but at least hear me out. At some point in your childhood, you likely sat at the table with a bunch of paper and paint or crayons and churned out picture after picture that your parents put on the fridge and treated it like a freaking Picasso. And after you learned to read and write and maybe understood some basic storytelling, you may have created short stories based on fairy tales or some giant robot anime (asking your parents on how to spell certain words) and then listened to them act like you’re the next F. Scott Fitzgerald after you told them those stories.

I think to some degree that urge to be an artist or storyteller when we were children stays with us as we grow older, and we creative types indulge in the urge, only we write/paint/create much better than we did as children (usually). So when writers are busy working on a story, people see it as partaking in a vestige of our childhood that’s somehow stayed with us through the years. And childhood is the exact opposite of adulthood, which means it’s has nothing to do with adulting.

Now considering all that, should writing be something we want considered as adulting? After all, adult things usually have some sort of prestige to them. Perhaps since so much goes into writing and publishing fiction, it should be an activity worthy of being called “adulting.”

My opinion: HELL NO! Why? Because of what constitutes as adulting already: paying your bills, handling moving into a new home, working a 9-5 job and enrolling your kid in that day camp so they aren’t cooped up with the Xbox all summer and you can go to that 9-5 job. These are activities that are either boring, or annoying as hell. You’d just rather not deal with them. So when writing isn’t considered an adulting activity, I treat that as a good thing. Because you know what? As difficult as writing can be, it should be fun! It should be something pursued for joy and for the sake of creation and connection, not because it’s a task that has to be taken care of at some point if we don’t want to upset our lives.

So let’s not call writing an activity worthy of being called adulting. Let’s just keep it as a fun, creative outlet that you can occasionally make some money off of, and leave it at that.

Do you think writing should be considered adulting? Why or why not?

What are some other activities that should or not be considered adulting, and why?

VR CS front cover

It’s May 25th, which means there’s one week till Video Rage comes out. I know, right? So close, how exciting! I have to admit, it’s been a crazy process getting this book out, but I’m glad that it’ll be out soon for all to read (and maybe review?).

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Video Rage (and you must be really new here if you are, because it seems I talk about nothing else lately), it’s the sequel to my first novel Reborn City, and the second book in the Reborn City series, a science fiction trilogy about Zahara Bakur, a Muslim teenager who finds herself forced to join an up-and-coming street gang called the Hydras after the death of her parents. The gang’s leaders all seem to have mysterious abilities and powers, and to add to the weirdness, the city’s leaders have a strange interest in the small gang as well. When the truth is revealed, Zahara and her friends will have to band together if they are to survive the forces set up against them.

The first book came out back in November 2013, and it’s taken nearly three years to get the second book out (in my defense, I had school and work and a whole bunch of other stuff slowing down the process). But through it all, the writing and editing and re-editing and so much else, I’ve had you guys, my readers, my Followers of Fear, cheering me on. I’m so glad to have you and I hope you really enjoy reading the second book once it comes out.

And speaking of which, if you’re interested in reading either book, the first book’s already out and the second’s available for preorder. Both are available for ninety-nine cents in e-book format, which I hope meets everyone’s budgets (paperback varies between books and sites). Links are listed below, so you can check it out from your preferred format or retailer. And if you do end up getting a copy of Reborn City and/or Video Rage and you read it, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of the books. Positive or negative, I love feedback from my readers, whether it’s in a comment on this blog or in an Amazon review (plus it helps me improve as a writer to know what works and what doesn’t work).

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Expect a lot more posts from me in the coming week, with maybe half of them being out Video Rage (yeah, I’m a dedicated advertiser when it comes to my own work). Until next time!

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

Video Rage:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks,Smashwords, and Kobo.

I move into my new apartment in a week. I’ve been running every which way getting ready. No one was available to help me move or rent a U-Haul, so I hired a moving company. Costs a lot, but it’s worth it for the service. Plus rent up front for the first month. Another big payment. And the new bed was a big payment. And the cable is also going to be a big payment. I don’t think gas will be that much, but you never know.

It’s a good thing I’m starting my new job on June 13th. It’ll be good to get working, earn some money and also make a difference. And this internship has a good chance of transitioning into a full-time position, which would be wonderful. Of course, I have to work hard, and make a good impression, and not screw up. And that’ll be a challenge, but I’m sure I can handle it. I just have to remember people’s names and hope they don’t mind that sometimes social situations go over my head (the stories I could tell, but don’t want to).

God forbid I should have to search for another job after this, because I like working and I hate searching. And with a new apartment, I can’t afford to not be earning money. So I must do my best in this new job and make the most of the opportunity.

Before all that though, I have to prepare for the move. I’ve already bought towels and sheets from Target. They were at a good price too. And the cashier at the register told me where I could go to get a garbage can at half the price of the store I visited, so I’ll be visiting that place most likely tomorrow. Saves me a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond or another trip to Target.

Still, not everything’s as easy as I would like it. I still have to figure something out with the furniture, because a lot of people are willing to let me have their old furniture, but all but one person says I have to pick it up myself. Figuring that out is going to be a challenge. Hopefully it won’t be another payment.

Speaking of payments, I’ve got cell phone bills and loans to repay and a credit card to pay back. I also have to pay groceries, cook my meals. I can afford to pay a bit more for quality food, but I can’t be doing too much or I’ll do myself financial harm. Still, need to eat healthy if I plan to live well past forty. And speaking of health, I have this weird back problem and should see a physical therapist for it, but I don’t know any, and they cost money, and without a driver’s license or a car it’ll cost money just to get there, I bet.

Speaking of that, I need to put more work into getting my license. Of course, that’s dependent on how much practice I get with my parents, and they’re not always available to do driving practice. Still, my sister managed to do it while working a full-time job and attending classes. I’ll just be working full-time. But even if I get my license soon, I’ll still need to afford the car. The point in my life where I’m ready to do that is still likely very far off, but it’s still something I should plan for and aim for.

Thank God I’m not in  relationship right now. I’m actually not sure if I’m even interested in having a romantic relationship, but I guess it would be nice. Still, no rush. Besides, who has the time or money when you’re trying to establish yourself as an independent adult? In fact, whoever feels I should make it a priority needs to keep their feelings to themselves.

Adulting seems to be making lists and getting items crossed off those lists. It seems like refining that mental calculator in my head that keeps track of my finances, making it that much more accurate and that much better at deciding what’s necessary and what’s not. It seems to be looking forward to taking a break or having a nap on a Saturday afternoon, something my dad does pretty regularly and which I never thought was my thing but now I’m starting to believe there may be more to the Saturday afternoon nap than I gave credit for. Am I starting to become my dad? God, there’s a scary thought right there.

I always thought that when I became an adult everything would be easy for me. Instead it’s a lot of working and worrying and making things happen so that I’m not running up the walls and into an asylum. I’m reminded of an article I read years ago in The Onion, about a man who almost has fun in a party but can’t because he keeps remembering all his obligations and worries.

I should print out that article and hang it out in my new office. Might remind me to chill every now and then and remember all the good stuff in my life, all the reasons to stay relaxed and not get too uptight. My family and friends. A good TV show or movie. All the books to read and all the stories to write. All the people who enjoy what I have to write, whether I’m blogging or putting it out in a book. My community. My faith.

Life changes. You grow up. You get older. You gain more responsibilities. You gain new responsibilities, and you drop a few by the wayside as well. But you still find ways to remember what’s important in life. and I certainly will do my best to keep all that and more in mind.

VR CS front cover

Hey all! How are you this fine weekend?

With Video Rage coming out in ten days, it’s time to do something I do every time I have a new book coming out: interview my characters. And who best to interview first than the protagonist, Zahara Bakur? After all, she was my first interviewee for Reborn City, so it makes sense that she would be the first for Video Rage as well. She’s also one of my favorite characters, which is even more reason for me to interview her first.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Notes and Stats:
Sex: Female
Age: 15
Race/Ethnicity: Arab
Birthday: August 31
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: Brown (used to be dyed blonde, but she’s gone back to her natural color lately)
Religion: Sunni Muslim
Affiliation: West Reborn Hydras
Special Abilities/Powers: No special superpowers, but she is a prodigy when it comes to riding hoverbikes.
Notes from the Author: In the first book, Zahara was very timid and unsure of herself. She was also very adverse to violence. She’s still very adverse to violence, but having survived several violent events, she’s better able to keep it together when there’s trouble. Add in the fact that she’s a natural hoverbike rider, and she’s gained some confidence. I think part of the fun of Zahara is that you do get to see her grow in confidence throughout the series, and that affects her role in the story. At first she’s scared often and usually gets relegated to the sidelines, but as time goes on she becomes braver and takes center stage more and more. That, if you ask me, is my favorite type of protagonist.

RU: Hello again, Zahara. It’s been a while.

ZB: You again! Where am I now?

RU: Zahara, you left Reborn City a few weeks ago. Please tell us what’s happened to you since then.

ZB: Well, we’ve been screwed over, that’s what!

RU: Whoa, temper!

ZB: Well, sorry! I’m just upset, okay? Parthenon tried to have us all killed, and when their plans–and their building!–go kaboom, they turn us into terrorists! Just because I’m a Muslim, they make us into the new al-Qaida and send the whole world after us! Seriously!

RU: Oh yeah, the world you live in isn’t exactly nice to Muslims, is it?

ZB: No, it’s not. We thought before we could get to New York and find some safety, but with the whole “terrorist” label, that plan’s out. We’re just trying to find a safe place now. We don’t know where that is, so we’re just going, and hoping by the time we’ve put enough distance between us and Parthenon, we’ll know where a safe place is.

RU: What are you guys doing to keep yourselves from getting caught?

ZB: A lot. We’ve changed our appearances, for one thing. My hair’s back to its natural color for the first time in years–

RU: I’ve noticed. It’s very nice.

ZB: Thank you. Rip’s also changed his hair, he dyed it back to what he says was its original color. It looks very nice. And Owl wears sunglasses, and we’ve all stopped wearing black clothes, and we’ve even removed our tattoos! Those last two were huge giveaways, so they had to go. Still, it was a big deal for the other Hydras. The clothes and the tattoos were an important part of their identities.

RU: Not yours?

ZB: Well, I’m glad to be rid of the tattoo, and the clothes did make me warmer than is good during the summer. But…

RU: But?

ZB: I may not have the tattoos or the clothes, but I’m hunted. I’m hated. And people expect the worse of me without even knowing me. I’m just like the other Hydras, in that way. And I’m with them till the end, good or bad. Inshaallah, it’ll be a good one.

RU: I wish you the best of luck with that one.

Well, that’s all for now. Remember, Video Rage will be available June 1st from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo. You can also get the first book, Reborn City, from those same sites.

Join us next Sunday when we meet Rip again. I seriously hope he doesn’t try to kill me. He didn’t seem to like me the last time we met. But then again, if he does kill me, there goes the Anno Bombus universe, which means the end of his existence…and I’m thinking about this too much.

Have a good one, my Followers of Fear!

Check out this lovely interview I have with Joleene Naylor, vampire novelist extraordinaire and the designer of the Video Rage cover art.

Amaranthine by Joleene Naylor

interviewToday we have Rami Ungar, author of Video Rage, with us. Let’s pick his brain! (Not literally, that would be too messy, and no one would ever agree to it anyway. Besides, I left my brain pick at home.)

gas mask“Are you my mummy?” (sorry – gas mask and British flag… *cough*cough* Never mind.) Meet Rami!

Jo: Welcome Rami! Please tell us a little something about your newest release.

Rami:  Video Rage is the sequel to my first novel, Reborn City, and the second book in the Reborn City series. The series follows  Zahara Bakur, a young Muslim teenager who moves to the futuristic city-state of Reborn City and finds herself forcefully initiated into the Hydras, a rising street gang in the city’s western projects. As time goes on, Zahara finds out that the leaders of the Hydras have mysterious powers. And when she finds out where the leaders got their powers, she gets…

View original post 521 more words

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday!

Now, if you don’t know what #FirstLineFriday is, let me break it down for you. On Fridays, you:

  1. Create a post on your blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed or published work.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback, and encourage them to try #FirstLineFriday as well (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

I don’t really have a story to match with this week’s entry. I just thought it was a good set-up for a story, so I’m going with it. Perhaps someday I’ll write a story with it. We’ll see. Anyway, enjoy:

“I think some of this shit is ancient,” said Damian, opening up another box. “We could probably make a killing off of all this shit.”

Careful Damian. Some of that shit might actually make a killing.

But what do you think? Good? Anything that you’d change? Let’s discuss.

And while we’re at it, why not try #FirstLineFriday on your own blog? It’s a lot of fun, and for writers it’s great practice when it comes to openings. Why not try it?

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m skipping tagging someone this week, so I’m just going to end this by saying that you should expect Video Rage-related posts this weekend. Believe me, I’ve got one or two on the way.

Until next time!

VR CS front cover

Hello Internet! How are you these days? I’m awfully busy! In between filling out the final requirements so I can take up this new job, and prepping to move into a new apartment nearby (I got a sweet deal on a new one-bedroom pad. It’s going to be awesome!), I’ve been up to something or other at most hours. And when I’m not doing either of those, I’ve been trying to enter into a contract with demonic entities to ensure I rise to power working on making sure Video Rage gets out on time and that everybody knows about it.

Now in two weeks we will see the release of Video Rage, the epic sequel to my first novel Reborn City. If you’re unfamiliar with Reborn City (which would surprise me, because I seem to talk about nothing else lately), it’s a science fiction story about street gangs in a dystopian city-state in humanity’s future, and the connection between the leaders of a rising gang known as the Hydras, the leaders’ amazing powers and abilities, and the shadowy corporation that rules over Reborn City. The first book contains themes of gang violence, prejudice, drug addiction, and overcoming negative perceptions of oneself.

The second book will continue soon after where the first book left off, as the Hydras try to escape old enemies and deal with tensions within the group, trying to find hope within the most unlikely of places and people. If you liked the first book, I think you’ll get plenty out of Video Rage.

Well, that’s enough plugging for now. I’ll be releasing a character interview soon, so keep your eyes out for that. If you would like to pre-order Video Rage, or if you would like to check out Reborn City before it comes out, the links are down below. I’m off to make sure that the release goes off without a hitch. Wish me luck, my Followers of Fear!

Links for Reborn City:  Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo

Links for Video Rage:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks,Smashwords, and Kobo.