Sunday, July 18, 2021

Midwinter by Chad Schimke

Midwinter by Chad Schimke - When the first edge of the setting Father Sun touches the horizon, the High Priest lights fire to the wicker man. A Teryn stands on the shoulders of his ancestors during Winter Solstice on Salisbury Plain. Follow the tale of the lone pine, from the bluestone cliffs of South Wales, to the hamlet of Feldmid. Read ‘Midwinter’ today!

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Behind the Walls by Chad Schimke


Behind the Walls by Chad Schimke – Distant communities try to come together after the Die Back. But every time, the story ends up the same way. Food ran out, brigands attacked, or people couldn’t stand living together again, after the apocalypse. Why not here? At Litogot Township. An ex-military man makes it his mission to find out. Read ‘Behind the Walls’ today!

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The Merchandiser by Chad Schimke


The Merchandiser by Chad Schimke  – When a merchandiser becomes preoccupied with decorations, he gives in to his chilling obsession. Second best will have to do, but he makes the most of it. Fear meets perfection in this unnerving tale, set against a backdrop of stark film noir. Read ‘The Merchandiser’ today!

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Hallowmas by Chad Schimke


Hallowmas by Chad Schimke – Kids decorate a haunted house for a holiday get-together on the spookiest night of the year. They’re unaware that a creeping stranger is watching them through the window. On All Hallow’s Eve… a night when supernatural entities roam free. Read ‘Hallowmas’ today!

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The Costumer by Chad Schimke


The Costumer by Chad Schimke – Life’s rough in NYC in 1989, especially when all you really need is someone to talk to. Don’t go it alone, pick up the phone - because time, time, time will tell… when it’s safe to go back home. Step inside the costumer’s closet backstage on opening night, for the worst New Year's Eve of your life. Snap to it because time is running out. Read ‘The Costumer’ today!

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Vivified by Chad Schimke


Vivified by Chad Schimke - When a young father doesn’t have access to his car, he decides to take a train ride. No biggie, he’s a successful business man used to making hard decisions. But a deadly incident will force him to reexamine what’s truly important. Living his best life, and then … dead. Find out what happens next in this weird paranormal short story. Read ‘Vivified’ today!

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Saturday, July 17, 2021

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino

Formatting & Submitting Your ManuscriptFormatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Writer's Digest Books
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FORMATTING AND SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT - Nobody ever said writing was easy. The fact is this: good fiction is partly due to following structured rules, allowing creative brainstorms and utilizing sound business practices. If you write for publication, then you need to understand submissions, that’s the topic of this post. Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino is a good addition to your writing reference library. Why is that? Because, this book covers all of the basics in an abbreviated sort of way, with callouts to identify/ explain important elements. That includes query letters, novel synopses, book proposals, manuscript pages, etc. There are rules to follow so that you come across as professional, polished and publishable. The book provides examples so you will have a good grasp of what works and what doesn’t. If you have read any of my review posts on writing reference, you will know that I don’t recommend a lot of writing reference books. That’s because beginning writers need relevant information and don’t have any time to waste. You’re probably going to spend a hundred hours on a novel length manuscript.

My suggestion is to focus on the three most important writing reference books, see below for my short list. If you’ve always wanted to try writing I encourage you to give it a try. Good luck!
1. Book in a Month (BIAM) by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
2. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
3. Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand 1957


Atlas ShruggedAtlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand 1957
While investigating a ruined factory, a railroad magnate finds a strange electric motor.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

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Sunday, July 4, 2021



TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY BLOG POST  - In 2011, I wrote my very first blog post, which felt like shouting into the wind. I started without even being sure my posts would be read. I had a blog, but what do I write about? One thing I knew – I’d write about what interested me, that would also (maybe) resonate with readers. I had no sponsorship, collected no monetization, and still don’t. Not being beholden to anyone gave me the latitude to only write about what held my interest. Ten years later, my blog receives over one million hits every month. Wow that’s a lot! But a decade ago, as I sat down to write, I yearned to understand how postings were being perceived. I read every comment, learned how to check post metrics, and viewed the responses. I learned how different platforms vary, and the value of building a dedicated site with a mailing list. Audience feedback helped shape my tastes, which narrowed over time; toward horror, scifi and dark fantasy books and movies. I never envisioned so many eyes would be on my stuff, when I started this little blog. But what has blogging done for me, you might ask? I can’t go into every skill I learned along the way. Much of them were technical, and learning in this electronic era is never truly done. Lettering and layout in digital design led to taking up drawing and painting again. I'm also getting back into creating tiny DIY miniatures. Writing posts sharpened my voice in essays, while writing fiction developed my storytelling. That’s all good, but what will the next decade of posts be about? You’ll have to stick around to find out. The recent signed paperback contest was a huge success which I’ll be repeating. The only way to get the next invite is by signing up on my mailing list.

Sunday, June 27, 2021



THE PORTRAIT OF MR. W.H. - The Portrait of Mr. W.H. by Oscar Wilde is a great compact little book. I have the pocket edition. It’s not a full book, but more like a novelette: longer than a short story, shorter than a novella. There are two pieces contained within. Part 1.) The Portrait of Mr. WH. It advances the idea that Shakespeare’s Sonnets are dedicated to Willie Hughes (Mr. WH). The intrigue centers on a purported portrait of an effeminate male actor depicted in female roles. Not unusual in Shakespeare’s days, since only males were allowed to perform on stage of the Globe Theatre in Elizabethan England. Part 2.) The Ballad of Reading Gaol. It’s very dark, apparently the last work completed prior to his death. The poem is organized in six sections with images of trials, prisons, wardens, guards and the hangman’s gallows. There is conflicting information as to whether the poem’s genesis was his imprisonment for A. moral reasons or B. loss of a libel case. Nonetheless, the mood is severe, reinforced by the poem’s melodic structure. Wilde’s quotations are brilliant short witticisms, his plays are societal intrigues constructed of effervescent dialogue and his involvement in the aesthetic movement promoted gilding the lily, in other words, art for art’s sake.

Sunday, June 20, 2021



BLACK SUMMER SEASON 2 - Where we last left off, our single mother attempts and fails to kill a fast-running zombie. Not only that, she also has to worry about her daughter’s safety too, as they have been hiking the snowy mountain trail together. Both fight their way to the door of a house, and finding it locked, are permitted to enter after a brief delay. Welcome to your temporary new home.  Unfortunately, risking fate at the hands of their new housemates might be worse than death by zombie. What does all this mean? It means the formidable talent that is Karl Schaefer is back at it again. Black Summer season 2 is the best zombie movie of 2021 and probably the best zombie series of all time. I watched the whole thing in one sitting, start to finish. The action and fight scenes worked as well as the 1st season. But the “lulls” in-between worked even better. Both lead actors were great before, and even better now. That’s it, I could keep going. I’m not going to spoil the story. Created by Karl Schaefer, Netflix released 8 episodes in June 2021, as a follow up to the 1st season in 2019. My hunch says the show will certainly be renewed for a 3rd season and beyond. Here’s to more original post-apocalyptic series and movies! Yeah all that, and the series title is misleading. It’s ironic, I suppose.

Black Summer season 2

Black Summer season 1

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Body Snatchers Jack Finney 1955


Invasion of the Body SnatchersInvasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Body Snatchers Jack Finney 1955
When seeds invade Santa Mira, unsuspecting sleeping residents disappear and are quietly replaced with nonhuman duplicates.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021


Get Reading Horror on BookFunnel  - Claim your free e-book.

Get Reading Horror – A Facebook group, but also a fantastic fiction collection, see above. It’s by a community of horror enthusiasts - around for a good time but not a long time. Get yours now.

Get Writing Horror – A horrifying group, in the fun, smart way. Eh, you get my point.


Thursday, May 20, 2021


HALSTON - Roy Halston Frowick was born in 1932, to a stay-at-home mom (Hallie Mae Holmes), and CPA father (James Edward Frowick). Early on, Halston had developed a flair for creating hats and clothing for his grandmother, mother and sister. He was raised in the American heartland: born in Des Moines, Iowa; and later residing in Evansville, Indiana. 

He left after high school, to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From there he got his break in fashion as a milliner, in the Midwest, and later, New York. He reached international renown in 1961 with a tiny pink pillbox hat, worn by Jacqueline Kennedy at the inauguration of JFK. Once hats fell out of fashion, he quickly moved on to clothes in 1968, by opening a Madison Avenue boutique.

In the 70s, clothes needed to be sexy but luxurious, which he achieved by building a fashion house not originating from Europe. The first American luxury designer made clothes special, by doing things differently. Bespoke fabrics, vibrant tones, cut on the bias, hidden buttons and closures, muted minimalism, which can be dressed up or down, by changing outerwear, belts, or bags. At his peak Halston grew his business with media promotions (WWD’s 1973 Battle of Versailles) and a series of mergers/ licensing deals (Bergdorf Goodman, Max Factor, Norton Simon, JC Penny, Ezmark, Revlon). During this time he was often seen out at Studio 54; in the company of  Liza Minelli, Liz Taylor, and Andy Warhol.

In nightlife and romance, he was associated with sometimes lover Victor Hugo, who along with cocaine would become Halston’s undoing. Tapped out, running low on ideas, he could no longer produce a best-selling product by just dialing it in. As business declined, so did Halston's creativity, which fueled his addiction, in a spiral of self-destruction. 

His 1983 JC Penny deal arrived at a point in his aesthetic where everything became beige and boring, and sales were reflective of this. A year later, his own company fired him and he lost rights to design under his own name. Somewhere before,  or after or during, he tried to buy his company back, but was unsuccessful.

Soon after being forced into retirement, came news that his HIV test result was positive. Out of the limelight, Halston spent his final days touring the California coast. With a chaufferer doing the driving, of a Rolls Royce, naturally. He died of AIDS in San Francisco in 1990 at the age of 58, just 2 years after receiving the diagnosis. 

Online interviews will drag up old footage of Halston, with his particular vocal fry and physical affectations. These clips will be compared to Ethan McGregor, now showing in the recently released 5-part Netflix limited series. I have appreciated McGregor’s previous acting. But I can’t grasp why this role wouldn’t have gone to a gay actor who would have done a better job? Here, I disagree with this casting choice. That aside, the acting is serviceable, and I watched the whole thing in one sitting.

Halston wasn’t an affectation, a turtleneck, a cigarette, sunglasses, or a costume. He despised cheap costume trickery, and refused to settle for something tacky. It's ironic that tackiness led to his demise. All he ever wanted to do was create something beautiful. Roy was an all-American boy, a product of his own creation, possessing a vision of effortless simplicity which embodied a lifestyle. He was the first, the best, and set the course for everyone to follow. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


THE WRITE PLAN (TO DRAFT YOUR NOVEL, IN ONE MONTH) - Plan on writing a novel in one month? It’s easy to dream, and much harder to achieve. My suggestion: go into this with a goal and a plan. Maybe you want to participate in NaNoWriMo. Or maybe you have a vacation, a chunk of free time, and want to finally write that book. Fine, but how? Before I wrote my first novel, I had no clue where to start, and had only ever written short stories up until then. I dreamed about writing a book. There was a goal, but no plan. Need structure? No matter where you’re starting today, follow these tips. Your writing will be the better for it. I recommend considering 2 important factors, before jumping into a fiction project: 1. Set an end goal, and 2. Develop a plan. 

Set an end goal - NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st, with a target of 50,000 words. This can be a good approach, but can also be scaled up, or scaled down. Only have one week? Shoot for an average length short story of 7,000 words. Don’t have a lot of writing experience? Start with smaller incremental goals, and build up stamina over time. 

Develop a plan - In a “pantser” approach, writers draft freely, without a clear goal where the story is headed. But if your time is limited, consider not wasting that valuable asset. Have a system, and there is no need to invent one. Years ago I stumbled on Book in a Month by Victoria Schmidt quite by accident. I go back to it time and time again. Start with the section on creating an outline. Create scenes, character maps, turning points, generate backstory and identify potholes. Write the whole damn first draft, or as much as you can muster, straight through from the opening sentence to the last line. Don’t write and edit at the same time! If you aim to reach the full 50K word count goal, I recommend setting up the outlines, characters and plot points in October — ahead of time. 

The limitations - No, you won’t end the month with a complete novel. It won’t be ready to “hit send” to agents or publishers. You might pull that off with a short story, but probably not if it’s your first time. What will you have? A first draft; which must be shared with critique partners, and rewritten based on their feedback. Perhaps by that point it will be ready to self-publish or submit to publishers. Don’t skip professional editing if you’re going to independently publish. 

It’s not easy to write a fully complete novel, but it can be done. Who knows? If you have a good hook, well-paced plot, and put in the work, it might even be a great novel. You’ll never know until you try. Want to do more? Please consider donating to the organization that brings this event to life.

This post was first published on Medium in November 2020:

Saturday, March 27, 2021


Paperback Contest – prize winners! You were selected by random number picker.

 Randy from WA

Nicole from PA

Jerry from FL

Dianne from AR

Blanche from IN

 Your FREE book is on the way via US Mail. 

Come back for another paperback contest, coming soon. There was lots of interest, that was nice to see. ❤️

Thank you for your continued follows, reads, and your support. 

Please consider leaving a review if you liked the book.

Another new contest will be coming up soon. 


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Thursday, March 11, 2021



Paperback Contest – Announcement upcoming in one week! Contest closed on February 28, 2021. Winners were selected by random number picker. The response was strong, so a new contest will be up and running again in the near future.

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Use this link to check back and sign up for an upcoming postage paid/ free paperback contest, signed and sent to you personally, by Author Chad Schimke:

Friday, March 5, 2021

I Am Legend Richard Matheson 1954


I Am LegendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Am Legend Richard Matheson 1954
The only survivor of a pandemic lives in LA, as he struggles to beat the disease but constantly fears pandemic sufferers arisen from the dead like vampires.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

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Saturday, February 27, 2021



MAGGIE’S BACK (AND SHE BROUGHT HERSHEL) - The Walking Dead’s current season is finally finishing out its second half, delayed due to the global pandemic (the real one, not the TV one). It marks the return of major lead Maggie Green/ Rhee, a fan favorite on TWD all the way back from Season 2. She conveniently disappeared in the “big time jump” which came at the end of Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln’s) final episode, having apparently left Hilltop with the mysterious Georgie. In reality, Lauren Cohen had been on a hiatus to film an expensive star maker. Cohen’s much anticipated Whiskey Cavalier, met with lukewarm ratings, was axed by ABC after a single season. Maggie encounters Negan on the trail. She stares him down and keeps walking. But all she finds of Hilltop when she arrives for a homecoming is a ruined heap… and the dead. With some luck, she finds Carol and Daryl. Carol tells her she set Negan free from prison, so he could kill Alpha. Carol also reveals Negan was with the Whisperers when they leveled Hilltop. Maggie goes back out with Daryl to get Hershel from camp. He’s staying with a group of leftovers she met along her travels. Maggie confesses to Daryl that she’s had her share of losses on the road. Communities came together and fell apart. Things collapsed and she ran. By the next morning, they arrive at camp only to find death and destruction. What’s worse, they begin to take fire from a new group, the Reapers! But all Maggie can worry about is finding her son. Tune into the 6-episode second half of season 10 tomorrow night!



Friday, January 15, 2021


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