Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chad Schimke - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on San Francisco Author Chad Schimke. He is a Mystery & Thrillers author mixing some Fantasy and Horror along the way.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror

Website: Chad Schimke San Francisco
Author's Blog: Chad Schimke
Blog: Google +
Twitter: @chadschimke
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Chad Schimke is the author of Picker, Pieces, Walker and Weirder with digital art by Heart of Solis.

He writes about occult paranormal, crime drama, city life in San Francisco, art installations, sociohistorical topics, literature reviews, performance theatre, writing reference and an occasional video clip.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Secrets. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

‘Secrets’is a thriller with elements of crime, horror, paranormal and romance. The timeline depends on the publisher. I hope it’s released soon--but I can’t be certain how that will play out--since I only finished it this week. However, I can tell you a bit about the book. I think that it’s my best book yet, so I’m super excited about the result. It’s got high speed chases, near death battles, mistaken identities and a very different take on the hero/ villain dynamic. As the title suggests, each character reveals a hidden secret and the novel ties together, concluding in a final action scene, an edge of your seat thrill ride.

You’re involved with Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

I’m fortunate that I’ve grown a sizeable social media following fairly quickly. I say I’m fortunate because there’s so many great authors out there with good books. I attribute the social media following to the fact that I latched onto this idea of being ‘content rich’. Take my blog for example Chad Schimke San Francisco.
I upload fresh content several times each week offering great stuff such as PDF and MP3 downloads. I’m confident that’s the reason the blog has averaged 900 hits a month for a while and just recently broken through upwards of 1,000 hits a month. Who knows where it’ll be in the future? We shall see.

Do you have another book on the horizon? Can give us a little tease about that one?

I’m always thinking about the next book idea so I’m glad you asked. To start, let’s talk about Spiritualism. This was a turn of the century (1900’s) movement quite popular back in the day. To host a séance, read tarot cards, consult an Ouija board and go through a medium to contact departed spirits. After that for my next project, I’m working with an artist to build a story (something like a graphic novel) using his portfolio of images to tell a sci-fi tale with a fantasy twist. Finally, I’ve formulated my next thriller, where I will return to my action, crime, horror and paranormal genre. As you can probably tell, I have a lot of ideas and an over-active imagination.

You have several very interest book trailers. (See links below.) Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? They look very professional.

Thanks, I’m glad you think the trailers look professional. However, they are strictly DIY (do it yourself). I created all of the trailers using a standard digital camera for stills and video. Nothing fancy, it’s just a basic everyday camera. Most of its completely original and some of it’s what I call ‘mash-up’. I used simple software such as Windows Movie Maker and Audible for editing and adding special effects such as captions and transitions.

Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

For my creative process, the story always comes first. I only put together the trailer once the story is completely finished. I do my best to promote the story with a good trailer given the tools at my disposal. The pictures and background aren’t exactly the way it would look if I were doing it as my own movie. It would be interesting to have free reign (with unlimited resources) to create a movie or trailer and have it look any way I want.

You belong to the San Francisco Writer’s Critique Group on Potrero Hill – Goodreads group. Tell us you got involved with the group and what their mission is?

What other kinds of support groups do you belong too? Do they help with writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I was the person who founded and initially organized the group. But, I have been thrilled to see the group’s dedication; in the ways we continue to support each other. This is a very talented group of folks whose opinions I really value. We are all so different but our strengths play off each other. All we do is write and critique, reading each other’s selections, providing verbal and written feedback. I learn just as much having my writing selections critiqued, as the times I critique others, or hearing feedback given to other writers in meetings. So, the group is not involved in any areas of marketing or promotion. It’s all about creativity.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I have one free book that’s available on my blog and as well as a Goodread’s contest to receive a physical book sent through the mail. I haven’t used the Amazon free giveaway program yet. However, I’ll be doing that in the very near future. I think readers appreciate the free book. It often prompts them to pick up another title because they enjoyed it. My main goal in promotion is to gain visibility; I suppose that’s the case if you’re an indie author, if you’re represented by an agent, or releasing your book through a publisher.

Have you ever done a book tour or an Internet book sale event? Tell us what that experience was like and what was the reward?

I have several examples of radio interviews, blog guest posts, a free giveaway and a sale book on my blog Chad Schimke San Francisco.
Check back frequently because I update my blog content several times per week.

You have a great blog. The Polk Gulch Graffiti art is very interesting. What is your blogs primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, work an outside job, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Ssh! I’ll tell you a secret … there are a lot of short cuts that can make quick work of social media. But, I think I might not say a lot about that topic right now. Because, I’m considering putting together a short non-fiction writing reference on social media platforms for writers. Here is one important tip I will give you, however. Use MS Word as an editor. In other words, type everything on a document and cut and paste into your text fields. Even if you change it, use it later on or start something completely fresh and new. It’s always easier when you don’t have to start all over again from scratch so I save a backup copy of everything. As I said earlier, the aim of social media is promotion/ exposure for myself/ other writers/ artists.

You have a wide range of experiences in two areas of the country both with the unique histories. From Northwest New Mexico to the San Francisco’s Tenderloin, what parts of those areas find their way into your writing?

That’s one of the things I love about writing or reading a story. You can go anywhere: inside the narrator’s head, to a location you’re accurately describing, to the future, to the past or to a place that isn’t even real. There are a lot of settings that show up in my books. Such as South Dakota, where my family tree took root in the Homestead Act era, near Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills. Or , New Mexico, in a landscape dominated by the Acoma Pueblo in the shadow of a uranium boom via pasó por aquí on the way to El Morro. I live in San Francisco now and it’s offered numerous international influences--a churning white hot crucible of artists and writers--as well as plenty of eccentric characters. I’ve been influenced by the literary heritage of each setting along the way

Author's Book List
A new casino affords a playboy the luxury of a Tudor mansion. Follow him from the sixties to the nineties, through an array of San Francisco characters, in the midst of dark suspense and occult paranormal.

A warlock makes a promise to a demon in a witchcraft ceremony. The title “Pieces” derives from a series of character vignettes: an artist, a thief, an actor and a writer that are puzzle pieces that lock into place. In the end, a grandfather and grandfather are imposed against a supernatural convergence.

A group of twelve men and women dressed in loose black robes; chanted around a makeshift lighted altar, within the middle of the circle.

“Reveal yourself to the sky, our naked bodies close the connection!” Lilith Moonglow led the coven in the incantation circle. “Intermingle each other’s energy with the night and our lord Asmodeus.”

The bizarre group was concealed; framed by a cluster of trees, with a precipitous cliff in the foreground and the Pacific’s frothy waves in the background.

Each member dropped hoods and robes from their shoulders to reveal nude forms. A faint silver light from the new moon shimmered off translucent bodies.

“We are all equal animals before you, the father of all things. I call out your spirit from the deep recesses of the earth!” Lilith Moonglow had a profusion of curly auburn hair that cascaded along her back. She had alabaster skin, lifted ribs along with full hips and breasts. A garland of vines wrapped across her throat and fell down her chest.

“Let no one be present, unless his heart is open.” Lyman Blackmore issued the incantation that he had prepared earlier that day. The spell was arranged under Lilith’s guidance, design and supervision.

Lyman passed a gold leaf paper to Lilith, with an incantation inside a pentagram. The paper went around the coven circle; each member held the spell for a moment then passed it along.

“Asmodeus, the god of luck and gambling…I beseech thee, arise now in our midst!”

The picturesque night view of Land’s End overlooked the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge and led out toward the Pacific Ocean.

“This spell is charged with our intent.” Lilith stood between the nude witches on top of a soft sandy spot. She motioned in the air with a silver dagger, tracing an imagined star inside a circle, to form a pentagram.

The witches raised their hands to release the power of the new moon. Lilith placed the paper within a footed pot and lit a fire with a candle.

Whoosh! A spirit rustled leaves with the winds, broke waves, ground rocks below and uttered eerie audible noises that were near the coven.

“Pure and real, the spell is cast! My touch releases the bounds of your immortal soul.” Lilith anointed him (never touching his body) with her hands…from Lyman’s forehead to his toes. When he turned around, she motioned similarly across his back and calves. “Hail and welcome our master! Our touch and naked bodies represent the connection between us, the release of the power of the coven!” Power flowed within the circle! “We assemble in secret!” An ethereal mist flickered with a soft glow. “Ah!” Lilith writhed and caused her long red tresses to undulate on her bare shoulders.

“Master, you are here!”

Who asked me? The other worldly male voice came out of Lilith’s body.

Human, you will obey me! Her eyes rolled back in her head. Or, face my retribution! Her body contorted in an unnatural posture.

“Dear master,” Lyman said. “Please bring wealth to my gambling house…I assure you of your benefit to the coven!”

Be warned and don’t break your promise! Lyman felt a whooshing surge of energy enter his body. In less than an instant, it was gone. He collapsed, his body crumpled by overwhelming fatigue. Thud! He hit the dirt in the middle of the circle.

“Chad Schimke's book 'Pieces' is a masterpiece of intrigue, suspense and magical spells…and walks you right into the everyday paranormal - and he shows how silently ubiquitous it can be at every turn. Based in the city I am from, San Francisco, reading this book took me back to this city rich in stories and history. The author knows San Francisco inside and out and so, combined with such well-developed characters, complete with a witch and much more, made for such compelling reading.. That I couldn't put this book down.”
Book Trailer: Pieces
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Walker (Novelette)
Unique and Different. Science Fiction combined with Paranormal. It has an interesting way of keeping you wanting to know more doubt [sic] each character and the events.

From the Author
I've always been fascinated by vampires, but don't look for the expected, it's a completely different perspective. This is about science fiction and extraterrestrial entities.

A hidden alien race lives secretly alongside humans. A dancer frequents hot night spots as a young model’s career rises. They are released from their ties to humanity, aligned with a horrific monster.
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Weirder (Novelette)
A young magician joins a bearded lady’s traveling carnival. He becomes an apprentice to an old-fashioned performer in the vaudevillian tradition. The mettle of each sideshow freak is tested along the way, leading to a conclusion that compels fright and horror. What is normal? It’s human nature to look down disparagingly on anyone that’s different or unusual. But, the human oddity draws a crowd; spectators recoil in horror, drawn in with morbid fascination, openly staring at the deformed, who can’t look and can’t look away.

It's odd, it's weird, and it gets, you guessed it, even "Weirder." I loved this book; just like the title suggests, it is a bit weird to read, but the story is good, and off at times, but a wonderful addition to my slightly off collection. I would highly recommend it for teen boys - in that weird moment kind of read. Love it. Keep it up!

From the Author
It's a story about human oddities, inspired by the Elephant Man. From a genre perspective; fantasy, macabre and horror are prominent in the inner workings of this tale.
Book Trailer: Weirder (Novelette)
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
"I read "Picker" in one sitting, after I was drawn into a taut, compelling crime story -- first by a sharply detailed, culturally complex and authentic rendering of place (New Mexico) and then by a skillful interweaving of well-articulated characters, parallel main plot and subplots, and events spanning two generations in time. I especially appreciated how the consequences of crime in this story play out in invisible, complex, and delayed ways, wherein cause-and-effect defies conventional expectations."

While the story is about crime, I must see that we are not shortchanged on anything here. Schimke is an excellent writer who has a real knack for both character development and description. Set in New Mexico, Schimke brings in the Indian traditions and all of this together makes for a fascinating read."

A reluctant crime boss encounters a violent power grab and a sudden upheaval. Experience his underworld of creation myths, thrilling highs, crushing lows and the spirituality of the Land of Enchantment.
Book Trailer: Picker
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner.
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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