Monthly Archives: August 2013

Guest Post: Matt Shaw




Matt Shaw




CCTV camera one is on.  The hallway needs decorating, looks like a throwback to the seventies. I might get some paint, another thing for the shopping list? I suppose I could live with the décor.

CCTV camera two is on. Fuzzy picture. Why? A mental note to self, hit the camera. Maybe the last time I hit it made it worse? Perhaps it will be easier to just buy another camera and another set of connections? Did I really get the best stuff to begin with? I must have done. It was expensive enough and I’m sure the salesman that helped me pick it out wouldn’t have sold me the cheapest. It doesn’t matter. I need to get it fixed; I’ll go back to the shop this afternoon.  I best scribble that down before I forget, so much to remember, ‘spare bedroom camera not working again.’

CCTV camera three is off. My fault. I unplugged it yesterday to plug in the vacuum cleaner. All the drilling in the wall had made mess of dust and brick. I couldn’t leave that for her to see. It’s not too important yet though; she won’t see this room for a while. I’ll get around to it next time I need the vacuum cleaner.

CCTV camera four is on. There’s the lounge. Looking good. There she is at the dinner table. She’s looking good. So is the lounge. I think this room is ready now. Thank God, something I can scribble from my list.

She’s moving. It looks like she is getting agitated. I best get down there and see her again before she gets angry with me. I hate it when they shout. I’ll check the other cameras later this afternoon. I best write that down too or I might forget and think I’ve already checked them.

I think everything is going well but, even so, I never knew it would all be so complicated.



Date One


She smells so good. I don’t know what her perfume is and I don’t think she’d actually tell me yet. As far as dates go – I’ve had livelier. She hasn’t even touched her meal, I’m glad I only served up the supermarket’s own brand of roast meal today. Christ, imagine if I gave her a Birdseye meal and she just wasted that? That’d upset me.

“Do I know you?”

Does she know me? It just goes to show that shop assistants, bank workers, basically anyone working with the public… It just goes to show that they don’t really like you, as they pretend they do. They just want to be your friend whilst they wait on you – getting you to spend more of your money. Bastards. Of course she knows me!

For the last four weeks she has seen me in the bank, where she worked, as I’ve been trying to sort out Internet banking. Ha! Internet banking, they say it’s a simple way to pay your bills. That all depends on what computers you use. Before I upgraded, my computer crashed constantly making any online payments a nightmare.

She looks as though she has a headache, “Does your head hurt?”

“Please, what do you want with me?”

I want her to try and be civil and at least pretend to eat her meal. It’s a shame to waste any food, even more so as we’ll be wishing we still had the food to waste one day.


Oh God, the shouting has started. Why do they always have to shout at me? I don’t shout at them. Perhaps I should. A mental-note to myself, get nasty with them. “Your meal’s getting cold.”

“Please… just let me go….”

She’s the same as the others. They all go the same way starting with confusion, then to anger, to fear and finally begging me for their life.

I really don’t want to have to kill her. She’s prettier than the others and the garage is getting full. That reminds me; I need to buy more air freshener.

“Whatever you want, I’ll get it for you. I’ll do it for you. Please, tell me what you want and let me go.”

I think this date is over, “Here, take these pills, they’ll help with your headache.” The pills are always kept in the same place on the dinner table, a small little mat next to their plastic cup of water. They always have plastic cups and plastic cutlery so they can’t hurt themselves. Or me.

It makes me laugh when I give them these pills. At first they carry on jabbering away, trying to find out what is going on and then they all seem to go boss-eyed and fall face first into their dinner. They should be grateful they are unconscious so they don’t see how stupid they look when they fall into their uneaten meals. I really should get a digital camera to take a picture of them, it could make for a funny conversation months down the line when things are cool between us.

Speaking of the ‘Kodak moment’ here it comes now. Her eyes are rolling to the back of her head and a little bit of dribble is starting to form at the corner of her pretty mouth. Actually, this seems more immediate than before. Did I give her the right dosage? Maybe I should have force-fed her a little food first so they weren’t taken on an empty stomach. Black market drugs or not, these things should come with an instruction pamphlet.

“I don’t feel so good,” she said.

Well, actually, she’s not looking so good either…

“What, what…. What have…?”

Other side effects, confusion and drowsiness, it’s coming now – the classic face first into the dinner moment they each go through. It nearly takes the sting off wasting the food they never touch. Nearly.

Three, two, fuck. Her head went backwards! That never happens, I feel cheated! I wonder, is it malicious to paste her face with the food anyway? Restrain yourself; it’s just something else that needs to be cleaned up for her bedtime. Speaking of which, I best move her now, her throat is making a funny gargling noise with the way her head is tilted right back. I can’t believe the noise her neck made when it fell back like that. That was sick.





The tatty bed, with the uncomfortable foam mattress, looks much more appealing with her laying there, so peaceful, begging to be cuddled. I’d love nothing more than to snuggle in next to her and hold her close, breathing in that sweet scented perfume that lingers around her peachy, kissable skin. She looks like an angel lying there, even with the handcuffs that bind her wrists to the bed’s headboard. They are a necessity but, in time, I hope we’ll be able to lose them. Not entirely though. I’m sure the handcuffs could still come in useful from time to time when the mood takes us. Don’t think about that now. There’s too much to get through still and she’ll be awake in a couple of hours.


When I got her ready for bed, I dressed her in a cute, pink pyjama set that’s got a cartoon character mouse design on the front. It’s not Mickey or Minnie Mouse; I got this from the market, a cheap knock-off that in no way reflects my feelings for her. It’s just that I don’t think she’ll be wearing it much after the initial few days whilst she settles in. They are a comfortable pair of pyjamas to make her feel more at home.  Once she is “at home” I’m hoping that she’ll choose one of the other outfits in the wardrobe that I filled for her.

I didn’t want her to want for anything so I got as many different styles of clothes that I could think of. At least, the ones that I thought would suit her petit frame anyway, keeping the colours to mainly blues and blacks because they are the colours that I like. The exception is the red PVC dress that I ordered online, too embarrassed to buy from a normal store. I really hope she likes this one as much as I do.

She’s got jumpers, cardigans, a business suit that may have been a waste of money for I can’t think of a time where she would wear it when it’s just the two of us, trousers, jeans, skirts, dresses, one of which being a pretty floral little number that I made her wear for our first date. I regret that choice as it made her look a little ’mumsy’ but I was running out of time to change her again – God knows it is pretty hard getting them ready in the first place, especially with time being of the essence.

I went just as silly with the shoes and purchased more pairs than she could ever wish for. I know, for a fact, that she’ll fall in love with them. I’m hoping that there will be enough love for me, after the love for the shoes.

The only downer being that they are all flat soled. There are no sharp heels on these shoes, apart from one pair, for I dread to think of the damage that she could do with spikes. The only pair with the heel being a pair of black, leather thigh high boots; my personal favourite, a pair that will only be brought out for special occasions – like my birthday perhaps? The mere thought of her dressed in these, with the dress, arouses me. I could just fuck her now but I won’t. I’m not a rapist.

I’m not a monster.

The rest of the spare bedroom is pretty much bare. I doubt we’ll use it much once she has moved into the main room with me. There’s no need. If anything it will probably only be used if we ever argue and I’m going to do everything that I can to stop this from occurring. I love her too much to argue with her. And I can do without the headaches.

The last room I have to work on, other than rechecking the cameras (did I make a note of that already?) is the kitchen. I’m halfway through filling it with food. The food has been the hardest bit to organise for I don’t know what she likes and if I don’t manage to get things she will like, she’ll starve quicker.

Once I’ve bought the food I’ve had to empty the contents from the cans and place them in easy-to-open, plastic containers. The plastic containers then needed small notes written on them telling me, for it will only be me that cooks, what’s in each one. Along with the names of the food, I have also written the best before dates. Given time, though, the dates won’t matter – we’ll have to eat them regardless. The last task for the food is the cutting of the meat – I need to cut it into different slices and then put them in the fridge freezers in the garage before getting rid of the sharp knife that’s needed for the job. As useful as the sharp knife is – I don’t dare leave it around the house.

What time is it? She’ll be waking in a couple of hours and I really want to be here for her, so she’s not scared. There are only a couple of hours, so much to do and so little time. I need more food. Even with the cupboards all filled and the sides stacked up to the ceiling, there isn’t enough food there. I can still fill the floor space.

The drive to the shop is nice. There is nothing but empty, quiet roads all the way. These roads are nothing like the roads I was used to when I didn’t live on my foster mum’s old farm, a farm that she stayed in after the death of my foster father.  Mum didn’t do anything with the farm apart from worrying about the interior whilst watching the exterior of the building rot. She loved to clean but, as she began to rot, the interior also deteriorated. By the time the building got handed down to me it was practically beyond repair – looking abandoned I could see that it would be the perfect love nest for my partner and I. I’m hoping she can also see the potential. I suppose I’ll know soon enough.

Driving to the store normally took about thirty minutes. It was further away than thirty minutes worth of driving but with no other cars around to cause traffic, I could always break the speed limits. The only witnesses to my lawbreaking were normally the badgers that meet an untimely demise on the front bumper. They are a cheap source of meat. With that in mind I often drove, at night, with no lights shining, in a hope to catch them unaware. The only flaw of this plan was when I caught the cyclist unaware too. I would just like to go on record now and say, ‘this was not intentional’. I wonder, though, if he had a light on, so that he was visible to me, would I still have hit him? Part of me hopes that I wouldn’t hit them but another part of me can’t help but think of all the meat that it frees up whilst saving money.

The local supermarket ladies know me by name, “Good evening, Mr Jenkins,” they’d often say. I give them a polite nod and smile and leave it to that. I was never any good with the small talk. Crowds of people, queues, shops, they all make me feel uncomfortable. That’s not a problem tonight.

It’s quiet. Thank God. Just the usual night-time worker who’s normally too tired to even acknowledge me. She’s the replacement after young Susie went missing a few weeks ago. She’s not missing. She’s in my garage.

A mental-note to myself, don’t forget the air freshener. Young Susie isn’t quite as fresh as she used to be – even with the extra cooling units in the garage.



Date Two


She knows who I am. She sits there at the dining room table, complaining about the handcuffs, that restrain her to the chair, and bitching about not knowing who I am, but she knows me all right.

“Please, just tell me who you are…. What you want….”

She sounds like a broken record.

The first dates are easy to get. You just need a couple of tabs of rohypnol or other sedative, depending on what you can get your hands on. If you can’t get any, I’ve also found a heavy, blunt object achieves the same desired effect. With the paper plates, the chairs bolted to the wooden floor, the plastic cutlery – I wish I had a heavy, blunt object to hand now, with this woman’s constant nagging it’d be perfect. If she shut up long enough, I’d explain everything that she’s demanding to know but I’m not going to talk over her.

Motor mouth here proves to me, again, that the second dates are always harder. The element of surprise is gone and the excitement faded. Instead it’s all down to conversation. In this case, a pretty one sided conversation. Please shut up.

“Why are you doing this to me?” she asked.

When she takes a breath, I’ll jump in and explain.

“Look, just let me go. I won’t tell anyone,” she continued.

She’ll take a breath soon.

“Whatever you want from me, I’ll get it. Money? Did you want money?”

Oh my God.

“Please just tell me who you are.”

And we’re back to that. I can see it in her face that she knows who I am. She’s just trying to throw me, make me think I have the wrong person and let her go. Why would I let her go? She’s the prettiest so far and, all the time, she was right under my nose at the bank. I have travelled so far trying to find the perfect partner and she was always there. There is no way I want to let her go.

“Who are you? I don’t know you…”

Huh, maybe she doesn’t know me. Of course she does. She’s dealt with me so much at the bank, how could she not know me? She’s just looking at me now. Ooh, she’s just looking at me now. She’s not talking. Perhaps I can…


…. I was going to say, ‘Perhaps I can get a word in now?’ I’ll have to be quicker if I am to explain things to her.

“Please stop looking at me, just tell me what you want.”

She’s calming down now.

“I just want to ask you a question.” I said at last, breaking my previous, unnerving silence.

“A question? You want to ask a fucking question? Why couldn’t you ask me at the bank?” she screamed.

Ah ha! I knew she knew me. Sneaky bitch, “I want to ask you a question but I can only ask when you’ve calmed down.”

She’s crying now. The wide range of emotions that I take these people through – why can’t love be one of them? I think it’s possible.

“What question?” she asked through some pathetic snivels.

“If there was no one else, just you and me for the rest of our lives… do you think you could ever love me?”


All the ladies that I have seen, they all seem to be hard of hearing for I always find myself repeating the question. Sometimes I think about writing it down for them but then I think that may be patronising, “If there was no one else, just you and me for the rest of our lives… do you think you could ever love me?”

Silence now. I hate silence as much as I hate too much chitter-chatter. Both have an air of unease about them that set me on edge. Just give me the answer. Don’t make me wait.

“Can’t you just let me go?” she eventually asked.

“Answer the question and I’ll let you go.”

She is definitely prettier than the other ladies. I normally go for blondes but, this time, I chose a brunette and I think it was the smartest choice I’ve made for a fairly long time.

I’ve just noticed she’s not eating her food again.


Yes? Yes what? Did she just say ‘yes’?

“Yes, I could,” she continued, “Will you let me go now?”

Did she say ‘yes’ just to please me? Did she think it was the answer that I wanted to hear? Regardless, she said ‘yes’. The wheels are set in motion now.

“That’s great,” I told her, for it truly was great. I raised my glass in the air to toast her answer and with a little bit of encouragement, she also raised her glass as high as he handcuffed wrist would allow. “A toast to us.” I love the taste of red wine. I haven’t bought too much though – it’s bad for the liver.

I’ve finished my glass and she’s halfway through hers.

I wonder what way her head will flop this time.

When she wakes this time, in the comfortable pyjamas I’ll change her into, she’ll be waking into her new world. It will be a beautiful world with just the two of us. There will be no outside interferences. There will be no one to ruin things between us, as there was the last time I had this special bond with someone, when a stranger came along and fucked my consenting cunt of a partner. This time will be different, just the two of us. Pure love. I can’t wait but, first, I need to make sure everything is as it should be with the house – our own private little world, for the rest of our lives. It’s going to be wonderful.

Her head’s flopped backwards again, with another loud crack coming from the bones in her neck. I wonder if, even though she was falling unconscious, she felt it. It sounded painful.

A mental-note to myself, give her a neck massage in the morning.

Another mental-note to myself, find out what her name is…


I want to be with her when she wakes up in the morning, perhaps bring her breakfast in bed. The eggs are fresh. I could bring her fresh eggs, toast, bake beans and a glass of freshly, squeezed orange juice. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Tomorrow it will be. That is, until we get to lunchtime and then that will be the most important meal. And then, when we get to dinner – that will be the most important meal. Basically, any meal, with her, will be important to me.

Before I think about what to cook her for breakfast, I suppose I had better get her upstairs into bed. I doubt the romantic breakfast gesture would have the same impact if she woke and found that she was still in the same clothes and with the same meal in front of her as she had the previous night. Actually, this meal still looks pretty edible considering its stone cold now. Perhaps I could reheat it tomorrow. It’s not important now forget about it, you’ve got to get her upstairs now before she wakes.

I can’t wait until time is no longer an issue.

After undoing the restraints that hold her down to the chair, I put my arms under hers and carefully lift her from the seat, dragging her towards the doorway.

I look up. The camera, on the ceiling at the corner of the room, is filming me. The bastard thing with its red light flashing, filming me as I struggle with this nine stone dead weight. Why didn’t I set the spare room up on the ground floor? In the hallway now: a short corridor, from the dining room, leading to the kitchen, downstairs bathroom and twenty-three stairs leading to the landing above. Can I just dump her here? So much preparation to do, I haven’t slept for days. I’m tired. I’m tired and she’s heavier than she looks. A mental-note to myself – don’t let her know you think she’s heavy!

At the bottom of the stairs now and I’m knackered. Those twenty-three stairs seem a lot more than what they actually are. Rest her here. Pick her legs up and swivel her around. I’ve always found it easier to drag them up the stairs by their legs. I find it easier to manoeuvre them in this position. It’s still not easy work though. Rest a bit.

I’m positive I’ve made the right choice with her. She made the uncomfortable, spare bed I have look good and now, as she lies on the carpet, she even makes the floral-patterned design look great. The carpet: another throwback to the seventies.

Okay. Here we go.

I take her left foot with my left hand and her right foot with my right hand. I walk backwards up the stairs, a quick look over my shoulder to remind me of just how many stairs that I have to climb.  That carpet is truly hideous.

Even if I didn’t find it easier to drag the girls up the stairs, by their feet, I’d still do it just to watch their head bump down on each step. Their mouths open and close with each jolt of the step and, for some reason, it always makes me smile. It makes me think though; are the headaches they have when they wake up to do with the stairs or the drugs? It doesn’t matter now. It won’t be long before she doesn’t need drugs anymore and I won’t have to drag her up the stairs.

Halfway there now and I can hardly breath. Am I really that unfit? Huffing and puffing like the big, bad wolf. I’m only thirty-two. This is ridiculous. I wonder how old she is. By the smoothness of her skin, I’d guess at late twenties. The bags under her eyes do add a couple of years but, again, that could be down to the drugs I’ve been giving her.

I’ve just noticed the dress I put her in today is riding up further with each step we venture up together. I’m hoping that, by the time we get to the top, I’ll be able to see her underwear. I know I could sneak a look at any moment after I’ve drugged her but I think that’s cheap. It’s not fair on her. It’s disrespectful and taking advantage. Imagine if she woke from her sleep to find me standing above her, knocking one out. I don’t think it would be the greatest start to our relationship. On the other hand, if her underwear is revealed in an innocent situation, such as dragging her up the stairs, that’s fair game. I get to look as much as I want to.




Guest Post: Iain Rob Wright


Iain Rob Wright

A Love letter to life…

The last two years have been the best of my life.  My dog had puppies, I became a fulltime author, and I got married.

Most of my prior life had been a self-destructive mess.  I grew up on a council estate, got involved in gangs, and didn’t have a very stable home life.  My life was full of drama and pain.  Although I didn’t know it then, over my teen years I slowly developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder.  I turned to booze to self-medicate a condition I didn’t even know I had.  My anxiety condition, often referred to as GAD, masqueraded for years as my personality, and I just thought I was a worthless mess.  I just thought that was who I was.  I was overly emotional all the time – angry, happy, sad – and I would often push people away because of these extremes (until eventually I had nobody at all).  I was paranoid, jealous, aggressive; arrogant one minute and insecure the next.  I was a total mess.  I spent my student loan on booze, dropped out of University (despite being a straight-A student), and started selling phones.  I was a good salesman – smart and likeable – but I was also miserable doing something that wasn’t what I wanted to do.  I was also completely alone.  I had relationships start up and end in a constant cycle of letting people down until it just wasn’t worth the effort of even trying to know people.  I was tired.  I was twenty-three years old and already tired of life.  I had no driver’s license, a load of debt, and no aspirations.

I met Sally on Match, the online dating service.  I loved her immediately.  I loved her with every thought in my head and every pulse of my heartbeat.  I loved her too much.  My condition, GAD, which I was then still unaware of, led to me being a nightmare to be in a relationship with.  I was jealous, brooding, and constantly tetchy.  I would not talk about the past – hers or mine.  I was also becoming very withdrawn, not wishing to do anything outside of my comfort zone, anything that could cause me additional stress or anxiety (I didn’t know at the time but I was subconsciously trying to manage my condition by avoiding all forms of stress.  This was why I had no friends or social life).  Sally tried her best to help me, to make me see that life was okay and that she loved me, but she had issues of her own.  So she left me.

I drank myself stupid for two whole months until, completely out of the blue, Sally turned up again on my doorstep.  She missed me and still loved me.   We got back together and things we great…for a while, but slowly my constant anxiety, worrying, and brooding came back to haunt me.  I could not enjoy any part of life.  I was stuck in a constant loop of negative thought and worried constantly about ‘what could happen’.  I was miserable.  And so was Sally.  So she left me again.  She had no choice.

I drank myself silly for another two months.  But this time I went to see a Doctor.  He diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and prescribed me an SSRI specifically designed to combat anxiety (rather than depression).  Within a few months, the static buzzing in my head went away and for the first time my thoughts were actually empty.  My mind had stopped racing along on its own and I was finally back in the driver’s seat.  I had control over whether I was happy, sad, angry, or afraid.  With my emotions back within normal levels, I suddenly found life a lot easier.  I could smile and enjoy things without unwanted thoughts making me sick with worry.  I could sleep at night with an empty head, and I could finally relax.  My anxiety was gone.

Sally turned up on my doorstep out of the blue again.  She said that, even if I never changed and made her miserable for her entire life, she could not live without me.  Things were great for a while…  And then a while longer.  And then for a whole year.  I was like a different person…yet, still the same person that Sally had fallen in love with.  I was just a happier, chilled out me.  A me that didn’t blame Sally for her past or for things she could not change.  I was a me that was able to trust her completely and love her for who she was.  I was a me that suddenly wanted to socialise and go to the theatre, try new things, and go on trips abroad.  We went to Disneyworld and had the time of our lives.  I finally wanted to live my life instead of hiding away; I wanted to live my life with her.

Now, Sally and I have been together for six years.  We are married and trying for a baby.  We argue perhaps twice a year, and it’s never important.  I smile more often than I frown and I have the job I always dreamed of.  I’m a happy person, which is something I once thought impossible.   

Two people were responsible for saving my life: the doctor that told me what was wrong with me (and that it was not my fault) and the woman I married.  Because without Sally, I would never have had an incentive to get help.  I didn’t hit rock bottom until I lost her for the second time.  She was the reason I wanted to get my life back.  Now, she is my life.

My message is simple.  If you’re sad more often than you’re happy, go seek help.  It might just lead to an entirely different future for you; a better future.  I am thankful every day for the little white pill that saved my life.


Armand Rosamilia


I get the #zombie royal treatment on Joe McKinney’s blog today!

Old Major's Dream

Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not watching zombie movies, the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music.  Besides the “Miami Spy Games” zombie spy thriller series, he has the “Keyport Cthulhu” horror series, several horror novellas and shorts to date, as well as the “Dying Days” series: Highway To Hell… Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer… Dying Days… Dying Days 2… Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days… Dying Days: The Siege of European Village… and many more coming in 2013.


He is also an editor for Rymfire Books, helping with several horror anthologies, including “Vermin” and the “State of Horror” series, as well as the creator and energy behind Carnifex Metal Books, putting out the “Metal Queens Monthly” series of non-fiction books about females who are really into Metal.  It’s as editor that I first got to…

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Things I Learned at The Inspired Mic


Tim Baker’s thoughts on the Inspired Mic event in Flagler Beach Florida!


The community I call home (Flagler Beach, Florida – even though I technically live next door in Palm Coast) has a fantastic creative element.

Authors and artists of all types live here, and in the past couple of years have gravitated to each other and are really starting to make their presence known.

I’m writing to tell you about one of the events that is bringing attention to some great local talent and also to tell you of some very valuable lessons I’ve learned at said event.

programIt’s called The Inspired Mic and it’s basically an open mic night for authors, poets and anybody else who has something to share (there have been magicians, mentalists and musicians as well).

Each presenter gets five minutes of mic-time to share their material.

The event takes place on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at a fantastic little eatery called The BeachHouse…

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FAQs: What book promotion are you paying for?


Robert Chazz Chute and Book Promotions

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

I sent a close friend the gift of an ebook hoping that he would read it, enjoy it, possibly review it and maybe even spread the word to his vast network of connections. Instead, he sent me a scolding reply: “You’re paying people to read your books!” And by people, he meant him. Ouch. In my defence, I don’t know that he’s read it yet, so that’s my double fail.

Before anybody thinks he’s harsh, a little history and context: I understand that he felt fine paying for the book himself. Also, I got him his first job in book publishing. He’s still thinking about publishing from that perspective. I’m sure he didn’t want to sound mean. I caught him on a bad day. Also, I’m sure he’s worried about me and that’s why he was so undiplomatic and reactive.

However, he’s only thinking of me as a friend and…

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The True Secret to Being a Successful Writer


Sound Advice… and from Tim Baker!


Shortly after I began writing my first book (the one I was really serious about, not the one I started in 1988 and never finished) I naturally began networking.

party with writers

Since then, through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a variety of writing oriented websites I have met many, many writers. Some were working on their first book while others had dozens of releases. They represented all genres from action to zombie (see what I did there?) and for every different style and level of experience, there was also a different attitude toward the craft.

Every writer, or at least the vast majority of them, has one thing in common…the desire for success. Some see success as a number one best-seller, others will consider themselves successful if they can manage a steady income and some define success as simply holding that first novel in their hands – and most will do whatever it…

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Spreading Out Your Blog Posts


I get a ton of e-mail, as I’m sure a lot of you do. I usually wake up to anywhere from 200 – 450 new e-mails a day in my main account, and spend the first hour of my day running through it and answering the important stuff and deleting all the garbage. I subscribe to about 200 different WordPress blogs… I am addicted, and I’m like a child. I need to not miss anything.

The one thing, however, that irks me is when I find a new blog I like or they have an interesting post and I start following them because of promise. Last night, for instance, I found a great blog post by another horror writer. I have never read her work or even knew her name. She posted about her work in progress and I enjoy reading the process of other authors as they write and hope to learn something new from them. 

This morning I wake and start going through my pile and I see a post from her, reviewing the World War Z movie. It isn’t a long post, only about 150 words. I read it because I saw the movie and I felt a certain trust with her blog after last night. She gushed for a line how she loved it and then likened the zombies in the movie to her zombies she’s writing in her unfinished book, going into detail about her main character (who is a zombie). End of review. 

Then I notice there are 22 new posts from her this morning… twenty-two! What are they all about? Pretty much about her zombie story no one has yet to read and she hasn’t completed it, but yet… she talks about Jonathan Maberry and his excellent books and how his zombies were cool but HER zombies were cool, too. Same with Brian Keene. These posts came 6 and 7 minutes before her movie review one. And it runs that pattern, all posts within 60 minutes… that’s about a post every 3 minutes. 15 of them were just reblogs of stuff she liked but none of it about writing or zombies. It seemed very random, like she was reblogging anything her friends put up or she saw. 

So, me being me… I dug deeper and found out she hadn’t posted in 8 days. But her last time she posted she had 13 entries, all at 4 am EST and all within 45 minutes.  5 days before that she did a sweep of 16 entries in about an hour and all at 2 am EST. She lives in the Northeast, so she is posting before bed I assume. 

Now, I’m all for content. I like blogs that post interesting and original things each day or every few days, but are consistent. I want to read about their work and what they like and don’t like. I want to get to know them as I read. But it has to make sense. I know next time she binge posts I’m going to simply delete all of them. Who has time to read 16 posts, most of them not having anything to do with one another? 

I have my own ideas for what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to posting new blogs. I don’t post as often as I would like or I should, but I try to be consistent with the ones I write or reblog. I would think anyone reading my blog has come to expect a certain level from me and is reading because I am doing something right, something they would be interested in reading. Not about random things. And they don’t want to hunt for it in the middle of the night, either. 

What’s your take?


Write a Review — Independent Authors Everywhere Will Thank You


Readers And Reviews by Tim Baker


I received the following message from a reader last week;

Hi Tim, Finished Unfinished Business. Wow! It is so different from your other books, but it is a subject that I am very interested in. Loved it!!

Unfinished Business will be released in June, 2013

If you ask any writer they will all tell you the same thing…We absolutely LOVE getting messages like this. Who wouldn’t?

I know it’s a cliché, but this is arguably* why we write (click here for an alternate take on this topic). It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when somebody tells you that they truly enjoyed something you created.


Yes, there is a but – isn’t there ALWAYS a but?

As much as we love to hear from you about how you enjoy our work, there is something you could do for us that is just as good, and in a way even better…

Have you ever…

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Book Signing Kit



Over the past couple of years I’ve done countless book signings (I could actually count them and figure out a number but I’m too lazy, and countless makes it seem like I’ve done hundreds of them). Whether it was a solo book signing or one with Tim Baker  or at a convention, I always try to come up with a game plan to get me in and out of the event with minimal energy and manpower to do it. I also hate carrying heavy boxes of books. 


My problem (and it is a good problem) is I can bring 45 print books with me to a signing. 45 different titles I am in. That is quite a few choices, although I don’t have all of them in bulk to sell. I usually have 10 different titles, sometimes 12… but then, when you carry a dozen copies of each, you run into carrying three boxes of books or more. Quite heavy. I have an old luggage dolly I use, but the wheels are getting stiff and it can only hold three of the smaller boxes. And it rattles if I pull it over uneven surfaces. 

I also make sure I have a pen in my pocket and some singles and fives for change. The pen is usually new, since I steal one each book signing from Tim Baker. I guess I could figure out how many signings Tim and I do based on the pile of pens on my desk at home. What else? Tim usually brings the table if we need one, and a couple of chairs. We all have boxes of bookmarks and business cards, and enough back stock in books to supply a bookstore. 


But I’ve been to conventions where authors and publishers bring an entire small city of items with them, and it amazes me. The work involved to lug it in and out, especially if you only sell a few books. Ideally, leaving a signing with empty boxes is always the goal. 

l (2)

Here’s my question for those who do book signings, whether it is at your local bookstore, at a convention or just about anywhere else you sit down at a table and start peddling your wares: what do you bring along, and do you have a Book Signing Kit with items you have to have in it? 


Do We Write for Love or Money?


Reblog: Tim Baker Wants To Know – Do We Write For Love Or Money?


Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was a British poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. He is generally regarded as the greatest man-of-letters in English history.Dr Johnson

In Johnson’s biography, written by James Boswell in 1791, Dr. Johnson is quoted as saying “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

An author friend of mine named Tony Walker shared that quote with me back in 2009. At the time I hadn’t published my first novel yet and I wasn’t sure if I should be insulted or not. I respected Tony both as a writer and as a person, so I felt obligated to at least consider the possibility.

Four years and seven novels later I have had time to give it some serious thought and I’m still not totally convinced of the statement’s accuracy.

If I accept it as true, it sort of makes me feel shallow and…

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Reblog: Why I Write About Zombies


Here’s a classic from me (If I do say so myself) shared on the Take A Bite zombie site…

Guest Post: C.A. Verstraete



Coping and laughing at zombies


Hi Armand, thanks for hosting me as part of my Book Launch Blog Tour for Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, which just released!

* Be sure to comment to win assorted prizes. Leave an email or website to contact you.


Synopsis for GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes’ life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he’s becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.

The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for.

But time is running out… Becca needs the help of her friends and other cousin to fight off hungry zombies and find their missing mothers.

Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late


Amazon:  *Canada ChinaFrance GermanyIndiaItalyJapanSpain USUK

* Books-A-Million   *Barnes & Noble   *IndieBound   * Powell’s


Although GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie centers on one girl’s life after she turns into a part-zombie, she’s no shrinking wallflower. After all, it isn’t every day that you turn part-Z and have to fight all the awful urges that come with it. I mean, eating, ugh, brains or gag, flesh?

No. Uh-huh. She has a “different” diet, with lots of liquid protein and other “stuff.” (I’ll leave it to readers to find out what “that” is.) The idea is that she’s still human, but let’s say, um, challenged.

I confess: I’m a latecomer to the whole zombie book arena, though I’ve long been a zombie, monster and horror fan. Yup, loved Romero, King and Koontz. Then I saw The Walking Dead and got hooked on that, too.

I’ve written a few “light” horror short stories with a touch of humor and a little gore, so when I got an idea for my zombie book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, it was natural that those elements came into play. Yes, there are icky zombies, and fighting, and zombie attacks in the book, but… I couldn’t help myself. I had to put in some funny spots. (Humor being subjective, of course. Oh, that’s a warning to look out for some “bad” zombie puns in the book here and there.)

Why “zombie” humor, if you will, and why-oh-why zombies?

I guess life is serious enough, right?

Okay, let’s face it. Zombies really are disgusting, icky creatures. They stink. They can be pretty revolting. Some people freak out in dire situations. Some get ultra-serious. In such a situation I’d probably pass out or throw up, maybe even make a bad joke or two as I run, and (try to) fight, for my life. And I’ll bet I’m not alone. (Be honest now.)

And what if you’re 16 and turn part-zombie with a “twirly” eye, a female version of the Wolfman walk at times, and ash-gray skin with spots? That’s only a portion of what Rebecca Herrera Hayes, the main character in GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, has to cope with.

Then there’s dealing with a possible love interest from a part-Z guy who looks almost normal (so how can he ever be interested in her, Becca wonders), plus seeing what people are really like when she and her cousin go out to search for their missing mothers. Add in distrustful adults in and outside their high school, vigilante groups, and problems with another part Z girl, and you have to wonder how Becca ever survives.

But she does. She adapts.

Life at any age has its good, bad, and simply awful moments. As a teen, life can be full of drama and angst, so humor can be a way to cope, and lighten the mood. After all, even when zombies attack, or you’re facing the world’s worst case of Z acne, there has to be something to laugh and joke about, right? Please?


Here’s an excerpt with a little chuckle:

My foot stomped on the brake at the stop sign, making both of us jerk forward and then back when I skidded into a right turn. “Good’s a matter of opinion. I’m good enough. Oh, hell. Get the piece of paper out of my back pocket, would you? I forgot the street names.”

Lifting my butt off the seat, I waited for Carm to dig in my jeans pocket and pull out the paper before I sat down again.

“Okay, got it.” She unfolded the paper and giggled. “How can you read this anyway? Looks like a zombie wrote it.”

“Funny, cuz, real funny. Zombies can’t write.”

“Yeah, my point.”


Here’s another little “taste” —


Hungry! I had to eat! Food!

I flung open the door, grasped at the rail, and heaved in and out, my gasps making me sound like some freaking steam engine. I’d thought of going downstairs and getting the food myself, but there was no guarantee I’d make it back upstairs.

The changes were coming—fast.

The images in my mind took a nasty turn. Flashes of those things filled my thoughts. Their faces were vivid, red, biting . . . chewing. . . I grabbed my head and squeezed my temples. Dios, por favor, make it stop!

It repulsed me, yet . . .

My mouth watered.

I yelled, not caring what kind of monster I resembled, or how my aunt and cousin would feel being jolted awake in the middle of the night by some rabid, howling creature.

I couldn’t think of them.


Bio: Christine Verstraete is a big Halloween fan who enjoys a good scare or two. Her short fiction has appeared online and in anthologies including Timeshares and Steampunk’d from DAW Books. Her new YA book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie released August 1. Stop by her website at or blogs, and


*** Don’t forget to follow along the rest of the tour! ***

GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie Book Launch Blog Tour – August 5-17

Monday, 8/5 – Marian Allen,-

Tuesday, 8/6 – Armand Rosamilia,

Wednesday, 8/7 – GirlZombieAuthors,

Thursday, 8/8 – StraightFromHel, Helen Ginger,

Friday, 8/9 – Dana Wright, ZombieGirlShambling,

Saturday, 8/10 – GirlZombieAuthors,

Monday, 8/12 – AR Von, Dreamz of Dragons,

Tuesday, 8/13 – B. Swangin Webster, Books, Shoes, Writing,

Wednesday, 8/14 – DB Corey,

Thursday, 8/15 – Wrap-up – GirlZombieAuthors,

Friday, 8/16 – Austin Camacho, Another Writer’s Life,

Saturday, 8/17 – Winners announced after 12 noon Central – GirlZombieAuthors,


Instant Gratification: Short Story Writing


For the past couple of months I’ve been writing stories in my Flagler Beach Fiction Series, starting with ten stories set in Kokomo’s Cafe and I just finished the ten stories set in Golden Lion Cafe. Each story is about 2,500 words. I sell two stories (5,000 word total) each Friday or Saturday for 99 cents and then once all ten are released via eBook I do a complete eBook and Print book of them before moving onto the next book’s stories. 

Kokomos 4 Cover

It’s allowed me to get quite a few releases out for each book (5 eBook 2-story releases, 1 complete eBook and 1 complete Print book for each, so 7 for each)… at this point it will be 7 books, so in theory I’ll have 49 releases just for the Flagler Beach Fiction series. That’s quite a lot of places for new readers to start with me, and it keeps my loyal readers constantly having new things to read. Each week, in fact. 

Golden Lion Print Cover

Besides that series, I’m also releasing other things as well, but right now the short stories seem to be taking precedent. The last two stories in the Keyport Cthulhu series, “Dagon” and “Evil” are being worked on for a release soon, and I have other short pieces currently being edited or first drafts completed. 


Which all makes me very happy, because I’ve preached this a million times but it bears repeating: keep giving the people what they want. 

Now, for the downside… 

Dying Days: Origins… my unnamed zombie novella set in a diner… Death Cult: Death Metal 2Dying Days 4… 

All of these longer pieces are suffering because I’m only nibbling on them each day, adding 250-500 words if I’m lucky. I’m ignoring them because it will take me weeks to finish each, and (in theory) I can knock out a short story in 2-3 days and get it into the edit/rewrite/final draft system and get it either out for submissions to an anthology or a publisher, or self-publish it myself. 

I also keep adding more and more projects, which I cannot stop doing. I have an addiction. 

But, after going through and seeing the two dozen index cards I have set up with all my various projects, I’ve decided to do something radical about it. 

I’m just going to keep writing whatever I want to write, and if it’s a new batch of short stories… so be it. I just hope you keep reading everything I’m putting out. 


Horror Authors And Religion


This post is a bit more ‘controversial’ than my normal ones, in that I talk about something I swore I’d never talk about… religion. I also will not talk about politics, and will never bring up the New York Yankees and World Series victories. 

A few years ago I was at a horror convention, hanging out after hours with 7 or 8 other horror authors. We might have had way too much to drink. OK, I know I had at least three beers so I was probably lit. Someone had just had a short story they’d written rejected by a magazine (this is a few years back, obviously) and the one thing that stuck with the writer was the note back from the would-be publisher: ‘Your religious overtone might scare away some readers, too controversial’. 

The funny part was the story was actually pro-religion. I forget the main gist of it, but I remember a clergyman saving people from a minion of Satan and sacrificing himself so everyone could live, but then God ends up saving him… something like that. Very Happy Ending. Now, if it had been rejected as being cliche or too cheesy happy in the end the author would have no problem with it. The fact his ‘religious overtone’ scared people away made him confused. I remember all of us being guarded when talking about his story, because we were all afraid to voice our opinion about what we individually believed in. This always stayed with me, because we were all drunk and talking stupid crap all night and goofing on each other, telling dirty jokes and being pretty vulgar. Once religion was added to the mix we all got quiet. 

I was born Roman Catholic but haven’t been to church unless I’ve had to (weddings/funerals) in years, probably since I was a teen. I’ve gone through life believing in God, not believing in God, wondering if there was a God, and anything else over my 43 years. I’ve had a lot of questions and had some poor priests and religious people in my life who’ve given me bad information or simply told me I was not being faithful by asking so many questions, which turned me off. 

I also think, as a horror writer, it is almost a given to think being Agnostic or an Atheist is the norm. I only know of a few horror authors who will talk about religion in a positive light. Most won’t talk about it at all (like myself before this post). Everyone has their own beliefs and I have no problem with it. I’m not really even sure what this post is about, to be honest. 

I also wonder: is it just horror authors who shy away from religious talk? Or is it deeper, with creative types in general who seem to think a certain way about religion? I’ve preached myself long and hard about keeping your ideals about religion and politics off of social media so you don’t alienate potential readers. It’s a no-win situation, but I felt I had to get this out for some reason. 

I believe there is a God in this moment. I guess it’s good enough for me. Things in my life have been great, and the people I’ve met in the last year or so have only made me a better person. For me, it seems when I believe God is up there and watching me, I feel better. Is it real? I guess we’ll all find out in the end.  I’d like to think God is real and he’ll meet me in Heaven and ask me to sign a copy of one of my books for him, although I’m sure he’ll want to have a stern talking about my zombies trying to rape people. 



Book Marketing Top 10: When less is more


Another insightful Post all writers should heed…

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Some marketing efforts are hurt by doing too much. Here are 10 examples:

1. First there were big author tours. Then radio. Now, podcast and blogging niches are more effective.

Many marketing efforts benefit from going small, personal and specific. Instead of getting a few minutes on radio (while people are in their cars or having breakfast and definitely not buying) better to get on a podcast. Instead of planes and multi-city tours and paying for plane fare, podcasts yield more exposure to a smaller, targeted and invested audience.

Podcasts are usually easier to access. You’ll get more time and sell more books with a podcast interview than by trying to squeeze in a few words between car ads and the giggling Morning Zoo Crew. 

The same principle applies to blogging. I’d rather be featured by a big book blogger than in a local newspaper. (Ask your dad what a…

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Another Easy Tech Tool Authors and Publishers Need Part 3


Great tool Authors can use!

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

I’ve become quite a fan of the Author Marketing Club.

Another tool in their arsenal is the Amazon Enhanced Description Maker. It’s simple, but effective: Make your Amazon book descriptions easier to read with headlines and lists. Best of all, the html coding is taken care of for you. I’m into anything that simplifies my life while attracting readers.

Yes, Amazon allows this. In fact, here’s a sample of the end product. 

Note what makes it different:

The header (Armand Rosamilia’s blurb); the attention-grabbing subhead; the bullet list; and the call of the “Special Offer”. You can make that a numbered list if you want. 

Highly recommended. See AMC’s demo tutorial here.

Related articles

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Hands Against the Wall


Anti-Social Media…


I usually try to keep my blog posts limited to writing related stuff, but today I’m going off the reservation.

I’m going to vent.

I’m kind of pissed…a little perplexed…and somewhat amused.

What could cause this mixed bag of emotions?


You know – the “social” network…

I’ve been on facebook since 2009. To date – I have 844 friends – and most of them are people I either know or at least share a mutual friend (or 12). I also have a fan page ( with 981 followers. I don’t spam people, I rarely post anything objectionable and I try my best to be a good cyber-citizen.

Imagine my surprise when I was notified recently that my account was locked-out from sending friend requests for 7 days. The reason? I sent a friend request to somebody and that person, instead of simply ignoring or declining my request…

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