Subscribe to darkmuse, my mailing list!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Constitutional Rights

It seems as we move further along in time, our freedoms slowly dissipate. There's always someone trying to ban or stop us from utilizing our freedom that was set forth by our forefathers. These attempts to enslave us have not made us weaker, but only stronger. Remember our constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Lest we forget:

Amendment #1: Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment #2: Right to Bear Arms.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 
Amendment #3: Quartering of Soldiers.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
 
Amendment #4: Search and Seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment #5: Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

 
Amendment #6: Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontatoin of Witnesses.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment #7: Trial by Jury in Civil Cases.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment #8: Cruel and Unusual Punishment.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment #9: Construction of Constitution.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment #10: Powers of the States and People.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Help Wanted!

Okay folks. I don't have many connections and can't afford a budget right now to pay people, so I'm asking for volunteers to help me out from time to time with simple little things -- marketing, making movie videos, book commercials, cover art/photo shoots for my books, doing mystery parties, etc. Unfortunately, the people I counted on before just showed me I can't rely on them anymore to HELP out and I don't want to go through the problems of spending countless hours working on something just to have it destroyed later on and all the hard work flushed down the drain as if it never meant anything to anyone.

You will get credit, of course, which is always helpful putting on a resume, and if I can afford to pay something, I will. Oh, and there will have to be some sort of mini-contract involved basically saying you'll work on a volunteer basis and not demand something from me in the future (for example, I had a cover photographer who volunteered to do my cover shots and then afterward, demanded her name be on the cover. Or spending a great deal of time creating videos just to have someone demand they be removed from the public eye. Or agreeing to market my book for a small price and then not finishing the job because the payment wasn't enough. I don't want any replays of these fiascos.)

Interested? Let me know.

Thanks.

Secret Desires

Okay, so I'm back. After some deep soul-searching, I remembered I live in America. Over here, we have the freedom of speech and no one is going to dictate to me what I can or can't say. If someone wants to harass me for venting to this blog, then I should be honored. It means I'm that important to them and they have nothing better to do with their lives. I'm sure my one follower will be happy I'm back (yes, despite my various attempts and advertising, I just can't get anyone to even visit this blog so it's not like I'm posting to the world.)

However, I will continue to journalize my endeavors into the writing world. That includes any troubles and trials involved with my writing, whether it's involving a cover photographer, my marketing efforts, book launches, criticisms, etc.

Speaking of which, I wrote several scripts for short film parodies that I was proud of and I wanted to share them. Unfortunately, I don't have access to people that can help me, so once again I relied on those closest to me. Everything was cool and I loved the videos we made. They were uploaded to YouTube so that people can view my skills as a writer and producer as well as the acting achievements of those special people that were involved in the making of the film.

Those YouTube videos were up for two years and yes, I always thought it would be cool if some movie people saw them and approached me for whatever reasons. Well, of course, that didn't happen and suddenly, after two years, I was ORDERED (not asked politely) to remove those videos because someone thought I was exploiting the actors involved and worried that a stalker might come after the people in the movie. I was shocked at this revelation. The nameless person demanding this only had a problem with me putting such stuff up but yet all the actors involved have Facebook pages with plenty of photos plastered for everyone in the world to see (and yes, some of those photos could be construed as somewhat sexy), but my cute little parodies had to be removed?

I tell you, first I get screwed on my marketing campaign with The Fear Within and now I'm not allowed to show off my movie scripts? What's next? I get banned from the Internet completely, or my blogs reported and removed? *sigh*

This Freedom of Speech thing is a difficult one and I'm being persecuted for it, but I'll keep on trying, no matter what because my writing is important to me. It's important that I share it, in any way, shape, or form.

And that's all she wrote...

Monday, November 15, 2010

FBI News

Real Serial Killer?

A Serial Killer on the Loose in L.A.

Christine Pelisek Christine Pelisek
Fri Nov 12, 2:29 am ET

.NEW YORK – The murders were committed years and miles apart. But in exclusive interviews with The Daily Beast's Christine Pelisek, investigators reveal that the crime wave may be the work of the same killer.

The first body was found in a patch of weeds in L.A.'s industrial wastelands. The victim, a woman, was naked; her feet and wrists had been bound.

The second body was discovered in a vacant field near a school sixty miles east of the city. The woman, also naked, lay facedown, in a semi-fetal position.

The third body was found, partially clothed, in a dirt gulley of a desolate area miles away in the county of Riverside. She, like the others, had been strangled.

The murders were 20 years apart yet police believe they were committed by the same person—a serial killer still on the loose.

"This could be the only three, or there are more out there and they are undiscovered and the police haven't done a good job with it," says Sgt Scott Brown of the Riverside County Sheriff's department. "I have to stay open to all of the possibilities."

Investigators have kept quiet about the cases but confirm in exclusive interviews with The Daily Beast that the killings of the women are linked, and that detectives are reviewing other cold cases for DNA evidence to see if the unknown killer may have killed others.

"We got one DNA sample off of Fields, and one on Pomona, and a partial sample in Los Angeles," says Brown.

According to authorities, all three women had histories of prostitution. The victims otherwise seemed to have little in common.

Sonia Smith, the first victim who was found in 1980, was a 25-year-old, black woman from South Los Angeles. The second victim, Vanessa Williams, found in 2000, was also black but, at 45, significantly older. She lived in Pomona, a city 60 miles east of L.A. Christy Fields, also found in 2000, was 27-year-old, and white. Like Williams, she lived in Pomona but her body was discovered in Riverside County.

"Someone may definitely still be out there."

"It looks like [Fields] was killed somewhere else and left on the side of the road," says Brown, who is in charge of his department's cold case unit, which is currently investigating 82 unsolved cold case murder cases in the county. "There wasn't a lot of evidence at the scene. There were no signs of a struggle. It had all the earmarks of a body dump."

By digging through old records and looking at forensic evidence and DNA, investigators discovered that the three victims were linked to the same murderer. What they haven't found yet, though, is a suspect to match that DNA. Or a motive.

"Some of these serial killers will kill because they are disgusted by the women and others because it is an opportunity," says Brown.

One puzzling question to investigators is the large gap in time between the murders. Smith was killed in 1980, the two others in 2000.

"Why the 20 year gap?" asks Cliff Shepard, a veteran homicide LAPD detective who has worked on numerous serial killer cases, including Rodney Alcala, Michael Hughes and Chester Turner. "We are back to the questions: Are we missing other murder victims? Was he locked up? Did he take a break for a while? We don't know."

"Who knows why he has laid low?" adds LAPD's Lou Rivera, who is handling the Smith investigation. "We won't know until we catch up with the dude and say 'where have you been?'…He could have been locked up, or found Jesus."

The original investigation into the Smith killing was kept alive by investigators such as Shepard, who during the 1980s worked the patrol beat but, many years and murders later, still remembered her, and other forgotten victims.

"This was the beginning of rock cocaine," says Shepard of 1980s L.A., a time when murders in the city topped more than 1,000 every year. "The crack epidemic raging, gangs were shooting people in the streets, and the unemployment rate was skyrocketing…Some of the victims became entangled in drugs and may have been exchanging sex for the drugs and going into areas where there was a lot of criminal activity. The murder rate was going up. People were afraid to go out at night. It was really insane."

Initially, homicide investigators believed that Smith had been killed by the Southside Slayer, a mythical serial killer who police thought responsible for the murders of at least 50 women in South L.A. during the 1980s. But through improved forensic technology—and dogged detective work—detectives discovered that wasn't the case. Instead, many of the killings attributed to the Southside Slayer were actually the grim work of several killers stalking the same area during the same period.

And, eventually, detectives began cracking the cases.

One of their biggest arrests was that of 31-year-old Louis Craine, an unemployed construction worker from Watts with an IQ of 69. Craine was convicted of the strangulation murders of four prostitutes between 1984 and 1987, including two attributed to the Southside Slayer cases. Craine was picked up by police in the late 80's.

Over the years, with advances in DNA technology and deeper databases of suspects and cases, investigators solved a number of other high profile cases.

In 2003, cold case investigators caught up with Chester Turner, who is considered to be one of the city's most prolific serial killers. Turner, a former pizza deliveryman and crack dealer, strangled 10 women with his bare hands in South Los Angeles and Downtown Los Angeles between 1987 and 1998. He received the death penalty in 2007. He is currently sitting on San Quentin's death row.

In 2008, Michael Hughes, who was already in prison for the sexual assault and strangling deaths of four women between 1992 and 1993, was linked through DNA evidence to four other slayings in Los Angeles going as far back as 1986.

And this summer, Grim Sleeper suspect Lonnie Franklin was charged with the murders of 10 women and the attempted murder of another after a reign of terror that began in 1985. Most of his victims were shot or strangled. The 57-year-old mechanic with a history of car theft was nabbed through "familial" DNA testing after his son was arrested in the summer of 2009 and had to give up a DNA swab. His last known victim was 25-year-old Janecia Peters. Her body was found in a Dumpster by a homeless man looking for cans on January 1, 2007.

Like the current killer, the Grim Sleeper appeared to stop killing for an extended period of time—his last known victim was a woman killed in 1988—until he resumed his murderous business again in 2001.

Laverne Peters, whose daughter was allegedly killed by the Grim Sleeper says she is not surprised to hear that another serial killer may be at large. Neither is Margaret Prescod, a local radio host, who, as part of a civic coalition, kept vigil outside the downtown police headquarters during the 1980s to demand that more be done by the police.

"If there are three [victims in this case], there very well may be more," she says. "Someone may definitely still be out there."

Christine Pelisek is staff reporter for The Daily Beast, covering crime. She previously was a reporter at the LA Weekly, where she covered crime for the last five years. In 2008, she won three Los Angeles Press Club awards, one for her investigative story on the Grim Sleeper.

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is a joyful time to feel gratitude for the finer things in life. I remember when I was a kid and the holidays were fun and entertaining. Everyone got along back then and we were happy. My mom would make the turkey (which I love and could never wait to get once a year) and pumpkin pies. My dad was famous for his wonderful stuffing (which I never ate since I don’t like stuffing but I’m told it was the best). Since it was a holiday weekend, we would enjoy having the time off.

In the morning, we always started with watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. I never liked parades much, though, but it was tradition in our house. My favorite show around this time of the year was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. My dad loved Snoopy’s antics, and so did I. The turkey would be in the oven, awaiting its gruesome fate, while its delectable aromas filled our house. It was a day to really give thanks, and back then, I was thankful for a lot of things.

We never even dreamed of hitting the stores on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but for a lot of people, it’s tradition. Some people chose this weekend to go hunting for a Christmas Tree and Thanksgiving symbolized the beginning of the Christmas season. Santa Claus always arrived at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not so today. The Christmas season seems to start when November arrives.

I just recently had my 41st birthday. Things are totally different today than when I was a kid. My four older siblings are all married with kids of their own, but I’m still single and alone. Some years it’s easier to give thanks and other times, it’s a lot harder. I know I should be thankful for the simple things we have – being alive, family, my job (ever since the economy dropped, I can barely scrape together enough money to pay bills), my home, and friends. But I’m not (it’s a long story and I’m no longer able to vent or share my writing journeys on this personal blog journal of mine anymore – a blog that no one outside of a few family members even read). Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm glad to have those things, but sometimes they seem to be more trouble than they are worth, but things could be a lot worse, I suppose, and are for a lot of people. It's really a sad state we live in these days.

What I am thankful for is having a faithful companion that loves me (my dog), being a creative thinker (my writing is all I have), and for God’s love (He could never let anyone down). I’m also thankful that I have food, shelter, and clothes. I wish I could be thankful for having lots of money to share with those less fortunate, but seeing as how I barely make much in my current job, that’s one dream that will have to wait to be thankful for.

I miss the old days when we were all happy and loved. Now, the holidays are just one huge grudge match, it seems. But I’m sure I’m not alone.

What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Interview with Heidi M. Thomas

Nettie Moser’s dreams are coming true. She’s married to her cowboy, Jake, they have plans for a busy rodeo season, and she has a once in a lifetime opportunity to rodeo in London with the Tex Austin Wild West Troupe.


But life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and unexpected family responsibilities. Nettie must overcome challenges to her lifelong rodeo dreams, cope with personal tragedy, survive drought, and help Jake keep their horse herd from disaster.

Will these challenges break this strong woman?

This sequel to Cowgirl Dreams is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

--------------------


1. How long have you been writing?

Ever since I could form letters, words and sentences! I loved writing stories in elementary and high school, then I received my degree in journalism in college and pursued that field for many years, before returning to my first love—fiction.


2. Who/what motivates you to write?

I started out wanting to tell stories from my family history. I’ve learned so much, and continue to learn as I write. Now I want to tell stories that not onlyl preserve a historical, western way of life, but also engage and entertain the reader.

3. Follow the Dream is the second in your “Dare to Dream” series. What can you tell us about this book and the overall series?

The series is based on strong, independent Montana women who dare to strive for a dream not readily available to them in the era, social or family norms. Follow the Dream is the continuation of Nettie’s pursuit of her rodeo dream.

4. What/who is the inspiration for this book?

My grandmother was the basis for both Cowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream. She was an avid rancher and horsewoman and rode bucking stock in Montana rodeos during the 1920s and ‘30s.

5. When did Follow the Dream come out? Who published it?

It was released Oct. 1 by Treble Heart Books. http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/

6. What was the thinking behind the design of the book’s cover? How do these horses capture the essence of the book?

During the 1930s drought my grandparents were forced to trail their herd of horses 400 miles from northern Montana to Salmon, Idaho to find grass. This scene depicts the adventurous trail ride over a steep mountain pass.
7. What audience are you targeting with this book/series?

My books are written for adults, but are also suitable for young adult readers.

8. Who is your favorite character, and why?

Well, Nettie, of course! So far, I’ve written only from her point of view. I do like all of my characters—I’ve come to know them probably better than I actually knew my grandparents.

9. Tell us one thing about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.

I once sang with a Sweet Adeline group at Carnegie Hall.

10. Are there any writers (living or dead) that are influencing you now?

Everything I read influences me to one degree or another. My current favorites are Ivan Doig, a fellow Montana author, and Jane Kirkpatrick, who writes historical fiction.

11. What message would you like to leave to the reader?

It’s never too late to pursue your dream, and don’t be afraid to change the dream if necessary.

12. Where can people go to learn more about your work, or to perhaps sample, checkout, or purchase your book(s)?

Autographed copies can be ordered on website http://www.heidimthomas.com/ Books also can be ordered from my publisher http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidiThomas.html and Follow the Dream is available on Kindle at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Follow+the+Dream+Heidi+M.+Thomas&x=0&y=0

-----------------

Thank you, Heidi, for a wonderful interview. Good luck with your book(s).

Please visit  http://thedarkphantom.wordpress.com/ on October 26th to read my interview with Mayra Calvani.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Zombie Apocalypse

5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen:
http://www.cracked.com/article_15643_5-scientific-reasons-zombie-apocalypse-could-actually-happen.html

Could you Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (Quiz)?:
http://www.oneplusyou.com/bb/zombie

How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/04/how-to-battle-z/

Hosting Tours

On Monday, October 25th, I will be hosting a great writer on this blog. Since I'm kind of forgetful (have a lot of things on my mind these days), chances are I'll be posting her interview a day early...unless I forget :-) Come back to check her out tomorrow or Monday.

This will be my first hosted interview so I hope I do her justice.

Halloween is Near!

In 8 days, it will be Halloween.  I haven't even gotten my pumpkin yet! No costumes this year either. Wow, I'm really slacking off for the holiday. What do you do to celebrate Halloween?

Can you believe another year is almost gone already?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Upcoming Book Launch Party

My first novel will be coming out soon. It's a supernatural thriller called When Angels Sing. Check out this blurb:

Blaze was the perfect man: sweet, charming, and 100% gentleman. There was only one catch. Jenna Michaels had never met him face to face. He was her Internet chat buddy. So when he invites her out to visit him, she jumps at the chance.

But he’s not anything like she expected, and even worse, he has no recollection of ever talking to her. She soon realizes she should have turned tail and ran home because her two weeks in Montana are about to be turned into a cat and mouse game as she is stalked through the streets of Stevensville by a psychotic killer.
I will be having a book launch murder/msytery party on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. at a local restaurant. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

A book stops selling when the author stops selling.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Question of the Day

If you had one chance to go back in time and change something in your own life, what would it be and why? Do you think this would have a ripple effect and your life would be completely different today?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Interview with Blaze Kerrigan, the Hero of When Angels Sing

We're here today with Blaze Kerrigan, our dashing knight who lives out west in the supernatural thriller novel, When Angels Sings. Enjoy!

  1. Tell us more about Blaze Kerrigan.

    Well, first off, Blaze isn’t my birth name. I was born Dane Andrew Kerrigan. Blaze was a nickname I picked up in college because I was hot with the ladies, if you know what I mean. I have a younger brother named Dylan. I’m a huge karate practitioner and have written books/articles on it. In my spare time, I also like to write poetry. I spent a great deal of my youth bartending just to make ends meet. Then I met my fiancée. Things changed after that and I…”
  2. I’m sorry to hear about your fiancée – Melanie, right?

    Yeah, it’s been a few years but it’s still hard to talk about. She was murdered in our apartment. My brother and I were suspects for awhile but all charges were dropped. I fell apart; my brother was institutionalized; and my best friend, Greg, was left to take care of us.
  3. That must have been a very horrible time in your life. How are you dealing with it now?

    Greg took a job in Montana. He’s the sheriff over in Stevensville. He asked us to come out there, so my brother and I are living there now. I don’t do so much writing, although I have this fascination with serial killers.
  4. Why serial killers?

    Melanie was the first victim of a sadistic serial killer. Ever since then, I’ve had these visions and it’s like I’m attuned to the guy who murdered her. It’s hard to explain. I think he’s following me to Montana because the visions are getting stronger. I get these fierce headaches and then I see him, stalking his prey. It’s driving me insane and sometimes I wonder if I’m the real killer.
  5. Why not go to the police?

    I tried that. They thought I was just crazy. There was nothing physical to tie any of the murders together, but I know better. Greg believes me.
  6. That’s a very dangerous attitude. What if the killer comes after you?

    He won’t. He likes torturing me. But there’s someone else I care about a great deal who is in trouble. Her name is Jenna Michaels. I think the killer lured her here and intends on making her his next sacrifice. I couldn’t save my precious Melanie, but I’ll be damned if anything happens to Jenna.
  7. Do you have any other family that might be in danger?

    No, it’s just my brother and me. Our parents died a long time ago. I was left to raise him and I’m afraid I haven’t been doing too good of a job. Dylan isn’t a well man. He sometimes has these blackouts. Things get crazy then. And he speaks of angels as if he really communes with them. It terrifies me.
  8. Wow! You said he was institutionalized before. Has he gotten better since moving to Montana?

    Yes and no. The doc cleared him for the move, but Jenna has brought back some old feelings in both of us. She so reminds me of Melanie, it’s uncanny. I think that’s why the killer wants her.
  9. How do you plan to stop him?

    I don’t know. Maybe with this interview and if enough people know about him, it will be enough. He’ll stop torturing me.
  10. Tell us about Jenna Michaels.

    She blew in here under false pretenses. I was ready to run her out of town, but she kind of grows on you. Now, I get my kicks out of verbally sparring with her, but deep down inside, I’m becoming quite fond of her. Shhh, don’t let her know that. Women can sometimes be fickle when it comes to matters of the heart. I don’t need any clinging females to smother me, although it would be nice to wake up to a smiling face every morning and to have someone waiting for me when I get home from work.
  11. What kind of work do you do?

    Lately, just trying to stay sane. I help Greg, the sheriff, out a lot and I still attempt to do some writing. I also teach karate to the young boys in town. Dylan and I opened up a small gym and turned it into our dojo. It keeps the young ‘uns off the streets and out of trouble.
  12. You must like kids. Do you have any of your own or do you have plans to have any?

    I adore kids, but I don’t know if I could be the fatherly type. I spend a lot of time just taking care of Dylan and he’s a real handful. But, if the right woman came along…
  13. Such as Jenna Michaels?

    Hmm, you never know.
  14. Do you have any final words to say to our readers?

    Yeah, I protect my family and friends, so don’t even think of bothering us. To quote a semi-famous line from my favorite super hero, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m mad.” Go green!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Review: Secret Thirst by Evangeline Anderson

Secret Thirst
by Evangeline Anderson
Published at Elora's Cave
Review by Shelby Patrick

Modern day vampires have been romanticized in film and books. Instead of the blood-sucking fiends known throughout mythology, the media portrays them as lost souls looking for a little love. They are described as hot, sexy creatures with a longing for someone to fill their passionate needs. Evangeline Anderson, in the vein of today's True Blood, takes them to a whole new level in her book, Secret Thirst.

Dr. Lauren Wright is an average girl and slightly overweight. We aren't bombarded by a sexy lady with a size 4 body, which television seems to dictate as being the normal for anything remotely sensual or attractive. Lauren just happens to be a size 14 and the main female lead in a romantic liaison with a mysterious vampire.

Dr. Wright is a research scientist and when she completes her formula for NuBlood, an artificial blood substitute that is identical to donor blood, she attracts the attention of a vampire organization that has dreams of "coming out" to the world. They can only reveal their true selves if they can prove they aren't the blood-sucking demons people think they are. NuBlood will help them become registered citizens.

Unfortunately, things never go as planned. Nicolas Kris, a member of this secret vampire society, attempts to steal Lauren's work, but he gets more than he bargained for when he realizes he has stolen her most private and intimate fantasies. He promises to deliver on those fantasies if she will give him the formula.

This society that Kris belongs to is only a small portion of the vampire society. The rest think it's a futile attempt to once again be human, so they conspire against Kris by attacking Lauren. Kris has no choice but to spirit her away to one of their medical facilities, which happens to be in one of the most notorious bondage/Domination clubs in Houston.

The club is run by a vampire named Simon, who will do anything if the price is right. In order for Kris and Lauren to survive inside the club, they must perform Lauren's most erotic fantasies with Kris being her Master.

It's hard to pass through any chapter without an erotic scene displaying itself. Evangeline writes them well, but there's a fine distinction between erotica and pornography. Erotic should be defined as more of a softer, sensual side. It's not laced with technical terms for body parts or vulgar language, which Evangeline seems to get off on using quite a bit. Some readers may enjoy this but be warned, it's not for the faint of heart. It could contain some offensive material.

This was the first full-length erotic novel I have ever read and it was hard to put it down, not only for the erotic imagery but for the storyline as well. The book has a lot going for it, such as action, adventure, and a lot of danger. What's more exciting than entering the dark world of the vampire, where every bite could either mean pleasure or death?

Update on Sales / Fans

I sold about 30 books so far of The Fear Within. Several people have already given me rave reviews on it. My neighbor down the street loved it so much that he bought a copy for his friends, and he doesn't normally read a whole lot. He can't wait until my novel comes out.  Tonight, my parents went to one of their usual restaurants and the waitress who bought my book couldn't stop talking about it. She said she wants to be the first one to buy my novel when it comes out.

Wow!

I love the attention and I love the fans. It's too bad the publishers can't see through my writing and see how much work I've been doing to promote it.

My novel, When Angels Sing, will be out as soon as I can get everything together. I still have a query in to one more agent and one more publisher; however, I also have photos for the cover art in progress to go ahead with self-publishing it. I need to wait on my editor, who is currently working on my next novel, so that I can add an edited version of an excerpt from Behind the Masque (tentative title since my editor hates this one).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2010 Assignment

It's September now, just a few more days until Labor Day. I haven't posted any assignments for awhile so thought I would start up again. Good luck!

---- SEPTEMBER EXERCISE ----

You wake up one day and find that you aren't in your own bed or even in your own house. You don't recognize the place and can't remember how you got there. When you leave the building, you find youself in an unfamiliar place. Perhaps you went through a time warp and ended up in a different time or you were abducted and taken far away from your native land. Tell us your story.

Update on Blog Tour / Marketing Woes

Well, it's over and I have to say it didn't go as I had hoped. Maybe it's because I only found two sites willing to help me out. The first one let me down on Day One but they made up for it by posting my interview the second day. However, no one visited me at that site and my post is the only one. I did get three comments on my other site and one on my own personal blog. But that's about it.

Also, while I'm on the subject of book promotions, marketing is turning out to be a royal pain. So far, the only thing I haven't tried is going door-to-door in my neighborhood. Has anyone considered this? I must have notified over 1,000 people in the past two months about my book. I've only sold 28 copies so far. What else do I need to do to get the word out? If you have any marketing ideas, please post them here. I could sure use some help.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Little Bit More About Shelby Patrick -- FREE Book Drawing!

Welcome friends and fans of horror! I’m Shelby Patrick, author of several self-published books. This is my sixth interview/FAQ session. I hope you enjoy it and I really hope you will take a chance and buy one of my books, which can be purchased online at amazon.com or via my website at http://www.shelbypatrick.com/ .

 
Anyone visiting one of the sites on my virtual tour this week will be entered into a random drawing for a FREE signed copy of The Fear Within. I will pick one winner from each site. Visitors have a chance to enter once at each blog. Winners will be chosen on Friday. If you are lucky enough to win a copy, please be nice enough to put up a review of the book either at your own site/blog or on the book’s amazon.com page. Thank you!

 
Now on to my FAQ’s:
  1. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

    I wanted to own a ranch and breed horses. I would still love to do this, but in high school, my tastes changed to wanting to be a writer. My dream was to get a place out in the country, near a small lake, the nearest neighbor miles away, where I could spend my days writing.
  2. What’s the latest news in the Shelby Patrick world?

    Well, I delved into the self-publishing world, after getting three moronic offers from traditional publishers. I started off with self-publishing two creative writing books, Dark Recesses of the Mind and Forbidden Knowledge. Then I decided to try my hand at self-publishing fiction so I put out my short story collection, The Fear Within, which is a collection of 25 dark tales of horror and science fiction. My next published piece will be a supernatural thriller called When Angels Sing. I’d like to have at least one book picked up by a traditional publisher, but if I can’t, then I’ll self-publish this one too. I already did a photo shoot for the cover, which was loads of fun.
  3. Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

    I want to make a living as a writer, preferably a fiction author. It’s my goal to walk into a Barnes & Noble some day and see my book on the shelves; to do book signings; to attend conventions where I can hawk my books; to be able to look people in the eye when they ask what I do and say I’m an author.
  4. How do you deal with rejection letters?

    I don’t think of them as rejections, but bumps in the road. They slow me down a little but I’m quickly over them and I can move on to smoother waters.
  5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

    Yes, every writer has a block at least once in their writing career. It’s a pain too. I’ve had months where I just couldn’t think of a single thing to write and then I get someone asking me when my next piece will be done or wanting to know what’s next and I realize I can’t disappoint my readers. That’s why we write – to be read. It excites me again and I can sit down and pen the next scene. My readers are my inspiration.
  6. Do you have suggestions to help others become better writers?

    Read and study the craft of writing. Buy any books you can on the writing arts and know how to pen a good sentence/paragraph. A good grasp of grammar and sentence structure is a must. If you can’t do that, then finding a really good editor to clean up your prose should be on your to-do list.
  7. You write mostly horror/thrillers now. What draws you to that genre?

    I love being scared, as long as the scenes and characters can’t hurt me. I love sitting on the edge of my seat and being thrown into a world of action and suspense. It keeps the heart racing and the palms feeling sweaty. It makes me feel alive.
  8. Where do you, as the author, draw a line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

    I absolutely hate a lot of blood and guts, but I know horror can’t be horror without some brief flash of the stuff we hate. Unless I’m writing a story where torture is part of the game, I try to keep my “bloody” scenes to a minimum. The only real reason to go into a lot of gory description is for shock value. Most of the time it’s unnecessary and I feel that real horror is more horrifying when less is shown.

    As for erotic content, my novels delve into a few brief scenes that could be construed as semi-erotic. However, I try to keep them brief and avoid using technical terms for body parts. Now, I’m in the middle of writing a full-blown erotic horror novel and it’s been a challenge for me. The story has to center around sex so there will be long scenes, sometimes whole chapters, devoted to erotic images. And yet, I still try to avoid the hard-core terms, which makes my job a bit more difficult. I just hope the readers enjoy it and it turns them on. My newest erotic novel is definitely the most fun to write. I want it to be the WOW book of all my writings so far. I want people to pick it up and say, “Oh my God!” and not be able to put it down until they are done and left breathless, hyped up to read the next. Hmm, that gives me an idea. Perhaps I’ll add a short excerpt from it to my website.
  9. People think horror writers have to be messed up to write what they do. What do you think?

    I think people shouldn’t stereotype. I can’t explain all horror writers, but for me, I’m just an average girl with a big dream. I’m a devout Christian, born and raised Catholic, and never swear, drink, or smoke. I write under a pen name because my writing is the total opposite of me. I think it’s due to my good girl upbringing that has brought me the fascination with evil and the dark side. It comes out in my writing, or it could be that most of my life has been boring and depressing. I’m a loner and have a self-esteem problem. I lack a lot of confidence, but that’s due to my family treating me like a loser for thirty years. I’m just a red-blooded all-american girl, as long as no one crosses me.
  10. Can you leave us with a sample of your writing?

    Sure. Here’s a brief sample from When Angels Sing, my upcoming supernatural thriller:

    His head started to ache and he felt a bit nauseous. He reached up to rub the spot between his eyes.


    “You okay, hon?” asked Marissa.


    She had a worried frown on her face. He tried to nod but the pain intensified. “I’ll be fine,” he said in a low voice. “Just got a little headache.” He hadn’t had such a bad one since they came to Stevensville. The fresh Montana air had done him some good. He didn’t like getting these migraines – when he did, he usually ended up passed out somewhere. That would be embarrassing to faint in front of Marissa.


    “Let me get you some aspirin,” she said, leaving him alone for a minute.


    Aspirin wouldn’t work, he knew that. His doc back home had given him some pills for his headaches, but he hadn’t needed them for some time now. The pills were in a cabinet out at Blaze’s house. He started to think he should have stayed there this morning.


    He should call Blaze, but he didn’t really want to. His big brother would get all concerned again and treat him like he was sick. He would probably confine him to the house for a few days, just to make sure he was okay. Dylan didn’t like people to worry over him, especially his brother. Last time that happened, Dylan had found himself in the hospital. They wouldn’t let him leave for months because they claimed he was a danger to himself and others. He didn’t know what they meant by that, but they wanted to observe him. He had thought it was just because his brother didn’t want to take care of him anymore. His doctor had seemed more caring than his own brother had.


    His vision blurred. He squeezed his eyes shut and leaned against the counter. Someone else was in the room with him. He opened his eyes, expecting to see Marissa, but she wasn’t there. He slowly moved his head around and thought he saw someone, a girl, standing behind him. He blinked and when he looked again, she was gone.


    “Who’s there?” he whispered.


    Laughter came to his side and he spun around, a little too quickly. His head felt like it might explode now. There was no one by his side.


    “Enough games. Show yourself.”


    He picked up a knife off the counter.


    “Lordie, what are you doing with that?”


    He jumped when he heard her come up behind him. The pain was excruciating now and her voice made it worse. His grip on the knife tightened when he started to turn around.




     

Monday, August 30, 2010

Virtual Blog Tour Update

Here is the updated schedule for my virtual book tour:


Sunday, August 29, 2010 --
(I should have an interview up this day at http://www.examiner.com/x-39689-Chicago-Authors-Examiner  )


Monday, August 30, 2010 --
http://www.writersinbusiness.blogspot.com/
http://community.livejournal.com/broaduniverse

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 -- http://chatonthego.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 (1:00 p.m.) -- http://writershideaway.blogspot.com/

Anyone visiting me at those websites on those days will be entered in a random drawing to win a signed copy of The Fear Within. I'll be picking winners from each site on Friday. You can enter more than once by visiting each of the above sites and commenting. Thanks.

The_Fear_Within_Commercial.mpg

The Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing Dilemma

I had these big dreams for years now. I wanted to be a writer, no I wanted to be an author. I wanted to  write a great novel, query letter, and synopsis and send it off to a publisher and voila! They would actually publish me and one day, I could walk into Barnes & Noble and see my book on the shelf, alongside other great authors such as Kay Hooper, Stephen King, William W. Johnstone, Dean Koontz, and others. It was a really great dream, but unfortunately, as most authors know it doesn't come easy at all.

I tried unsuccessfully to get published but the rejections kept coming in. It's very undaunting and makes a person just want to give up. I bought a book called Rotten Rejections and it lifted my spirits to know that great stories like Harry Potter, Moby Dick, Gone with the Wind, A Time to Kill, and Carrie were rejected time and time again until someone took a chance on them. It made me realize I shouldn't give up so easily. It's many many years later and the rejections are still coming in.

Last year, I decided to pay a professional to edit one of my novel manuscripts. He helped to make the story 100% better. I thought this would help me get published, but I still got rejections.

A lot of people believe that traditional publishing is the only way to go. They say if you can't make it there, you won't make it anywhere. But is it really the best way? From what I understand, you don't have a lot of control and the royalties aren't that much, unless you are a big name author. Plus, you still need to be pro-active and market your own books, even with a traditional publisher.

I still have dreams of being published by a traditional publisher. Self-publishing my own books doesn't have the thrill it should. When people asked who published my book, and I tell them I did, I just sit there and watch their faces fall and they say, "oh". Plus, a lot of traditional authors, editors, and publishers won't even give self-published authors the time of day.

Yes, it's true that with self-publishing, every Tom, Dick, and Harry can publish a book, no matter how crappy it might be. There are a few rare occasions when an author started off self-publishing and now is a household name in writing.

However, with self-publishing, you have total control regarding your book and its design. You can set your own price and keep more of the royalties. But do self-publishers ever get any respect? Hardly. Can I email an author and ask for a blurb for my upcoming novel? I can try, but the chance that they will look at a self-published novel and review it are nil. Can I email blogs and request an interview? I can try but a lot of them won't interview self-published authors.

So what's better in the long run? If I ever get an offer I can accept from a traditional publisher, I'll let you know. :-)

Virtual Book Tour Blah's and Ah's

I was really excited about starting my virtual book tour of my new book The Fear Within; however, it wasn't as fun as I'd hoped. I only found two people offering to host me and so I asked my niece to host me on the third day. Her site is new and hasn't had visitors yet, so we'll see what happens. My blog will host myself on the fourth day. :-)

Well, Day One came and went. The host, Broad Universe, who assured me would have me up there on the 29th, let me down. Either they had technical difficulties or the blog mistress was out sick, but I checked all day and my interview never went up. I had promoted the first link on my book tour too. It was a bit upsetting. I emailed the blog mistress several times yesterday and never got a response. If she gets back with me and I go up on their site this week, I'll send the link around again.

Today is Day Two. My second host had me online last night already. I posted a comment first thing this morning and yes, I already had another comment from last night. This is cool. I hope I get a few more comments. The day is early yet, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, I'll be up at Dial EM For Mystery.

I was also supposed to be Author of the Week at I-Virtual Assist Book Tours, I sent her a brief bio and links to my book tour. When I checked the site today, I'm not author of the week, but my book cover is shown on the Authors on Tours page with a link to my virtual tour page. Oh well.

No matter what, this is a huge learning experience for me. I hope to re-do the virtual book tour when my supernatural thriller novel comes out in a couple of months. Anyone willing to host me then, please let me know. Thanks.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Virtual Blog Tour

Here is the schedule for my virtual book tour:

Sunday, August 29, 2010 -- http://community.livejournal.com/broaduniverse

Monday, August 30, 2010 -- http://www.writersinbusiness.blogspot.com/
(I should have an interview up this day at http://www.examiner.com/x-39689-Chicago-Authors-Examiner )

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 -- http://chatonthego.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 (1:00 p.m.) -- http://writershideaway.blogspot.com/

Anyone visiting me at those websites on those days will be entered in a random drawing to win a signed copy of The Fear Within.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Call For Reviewers and Blurb Writers

Looking for writers, publishers, or editors to read and review The Fear Within, my short horror/sci fi story collection. The book will be sent to you in PDF format via an email attachment. Reviews should be posted to your own blogs/websites and/or on it's amazon page at The Fear Within.

Also would like to find authors, publishers, or editors who enjoy a good supernatural thriller to write short blurbs for my upcoming novel, When Angels Sing. Here is a summary of the book:

Blaze was the perfect man: sweet, charming, and 100% gentleman. There was only one catch. Jenna Michaels had never met him face to face. He was her Internet chat buddy. So when he invites her out to visit him, she jumps at the chance. But he's not anything like she expected, and even worse, he has no recollection of ever talking to her. She doesn't give up though and decides to find out who the person was behind the Internet buddy. She soon realizes she should have turned tail and ran home because her two weeks in Montana are about to be turned into a cat and mouse game as she is stalked through the streets of Stevensville by a psychotic killer.

Again, the book will be sent to you via a pdf email attachment. Blurbs should be sent back to me by September 15, 2010. If interested, contact me at blackwidow@shelbypatrick.com .

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My First Interview - Local Newspaper

Madison-Park News (MI)

Aspiring author takes a stab at horror
Local hopes short story collection will lead to writing career

ANDY KOZLOWSKI C & G Staff Writer
Published: August 18, 2010

MADISON HEIGHTS - Mermaids and mutants. Vengeful spirits and the walking dead. A possessed car that eats souls. A murderous reflection in the mirror. All these and more populate the pages of "The Fear Within," a collection of 25 short stories - mostly horror, with sci-fi thrown in for good measure - written by a lifelong Madison Heights resident and Lamphere High '87 grad by the penname of Shelby Patrick.

Still, she's not so buddy-buddy with the creatures that go bump in the night.

"People swear my house is haunted," Patrick said. "I'm not sure if I believe them, but I did see something once that I'll never forget. I was home alone that night and someone was in my hallway. It was a woman - she ran down the hall and disappeared.

I'll never forget that moment.

I'm 40 years old now and won't survive sitting in my house at night alone without every single light on." Patrick, who is self-employed part-time delivering newspapers in Royal Oak, Troy and Clawson, has had aspirations of becoming a fulltime author since high school.

" (My family) never really thought I'd amount to much, so I started writing to prove I could do something productive with my life," she said.

Since then, she's penned many a short story, novel and article, even an e-book on Web design. Several short stories were successfully published, and subsequently revised and added to "The Fear Within." An article on karate also saw print.

Of special note, though, are two self-published creative writing exercise books, "Dark Recesses of the Mind," which doles out assignments on a monthly basis, and "Forbidden Knowledge," which mines the Ten Commandments and Seven Deadly Sins for inspiration.
"I had heard about lulu.com and decided to try my hand at selfpublishing," Patrick said. "It was very easy to do and free of charge.

You basically upload files to their server and they publish the book for you. The only bad thing was the price for proofs and the retail price of the book would be a bit high." Her good experience with the two creative writing books encouraged her to keep at it.

"My editor recommended Createspace for my short story collection," Patrick said. "It was a little cheaper, but just as easy to do." For her next novel, "When Angels Sing" - a thriller previewed in "The Fear Within" - Patrick plans to self-publish if a publisher cannot be found.

But the first step is writing, and before one can write, one must read.

Patrick counts among her influences such masters of horror as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, but these days it's all about thriller/ suspense authors such as Kay Hooper, Heather Graham and Tami Hoag.

"Every story should have good characterization, a strong plot and well-written descriptions, but what sets the horror/ thriller story apart from the rest is the element of suspense," Patrick said. "It needs to keep the reader guessing and on the edge of their seats. It should open with a strong beginning and close with a believable ending. Don't disappoint the readers, or they might not come back.

"I prefer to write psychological horror, the kind that can get under your skin and hold you hostage until it's ready to let you go," she added.

"My stories rely on the fear that we all hold inside and must face sooner or later, whether it's the dark, losing a loved one, or the spider crawling up your arm. Sometimes it can even be a race for survival that gives us strength to see it through." Patrick's approach to writing can be as unpredictable as her characters'adventures.

"I don't outline before I write a story. It comes to me as I write," she said. "I think of it as a movie I'm seeing for the first time. Even I don't know how my stories will end until I'm ready to write the ending." As for what those stories are, the subject matter varies widely in "The Fear Within." Phone calls from the dead; a cell phone virus that turns infected people into homicidal maniacs; an old western town teeming with the undead; a mutated dog wreaking havoc on a space station; a supercomputer gone on a killing spree. The list goes on and on.

"It is great fun to read her stories because she does a good job of making sure that the reader doesn't have time to slow down and that the pages keep turning," said Rich Buchko, the book's editor. "She obviously has this dark side to her and it comes out in her writing, and of course she has a great imagination, which she uses to bring fresh angles to her stories." Though she's a self-proclaimed "scaredy-cat," dreading everything from spiders and water to heights and hospitals, the force powering Patrick's work is an appreciation for the value of fear.

"It makes us feel alive," Patrick said. "People who say they fear nothing are lying to themselves. Everyone needs to have some kind of fear, whether it's a small one or much larger. Our fears protect us and sometimes stop us from doing crazy things. Without fear, we might as well be mindless zombies wandering the Earth." To sample Shelby Patrick's work for yourself, visit her website at http://%20www.shelbypatrick.com/.

You can reach Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at akozlowski@candgnews.com or at (586) 279-1104.


Copyright, 2010, Madison-Park News (MI), All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Virutal Book Tour Update

I'm planning to schedule my virtual book tour for August 29 - September 4, 2010 for The Fear Within. I have a couple of bloggers lined up to be hosts so far. If anyone else is interested, please let me know which day of that week you could host me and my book. I will be giving away free prizes during my blog tour to offer up to people who visit your blog and comment on my post. More details coming. Please email me at blackwidow@shelbypatrick.com if you're interested in becoming a blog host.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feature Story

So I contacted C&G Newspapers, a local community newspaper in my area. Someone at the paper had said news of my book would make for a good feature story. The reporter in my area responded and said he was interested. He emailed me 22 questions and needs the answers back by Saturday afternoon at noon. This is exciting! My first interview/story in the paper.

Thank you, C&G Newspapers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lessons I Learned

Never ask family to HELP you promote your book.

Last month I asked one of my nieces and one of my nephews to help me distribute 400 postcards to the neighborhood announcing my book, The Fear Within. I offered to take them to the movies as payment. Everything was cool for awhile too, except I forgot one thing. Certain members of my family are just never satisfied with the simple things in life. They always want more and don't care how they get it.

What do I mean?

Well, my niece and nephew decide to ditch me on the movies and go with their friends instead. Okay, so that's fine, right? No biggie. After I got over the upset, I told them I'd pay them instead. The price of an afternoon movie over here is $4.75, so I offered to give them $5.00 each. However, they had only done half the postcards so I asked if they would come over and do the rest with me.

Now, remember, I had asked them to help me as a favor. I wasn't HIRING them to do a job for me. I did just as much of the work as they did, if not more, delivering the postcards, plus I made dinner for them that day (which they had at least a couple of helpings of) and me and my other niece treated them to the dairy queen for dessert.

Well, I get this nasty message from my niece via Facebook telling me that I wasn't paying them enough to come over and finish the job and that they had no idea they were going to be doing ALL the work.

I thought we had come to an agreement on everything, but the greed took control and they wanted a lot more. By my count, they expected at least $30 worth of payments just for doing half the work. If they had come back and helped some more, I'm guessing they would have expected $60.

It gets even worse.

After I got this nasty message, I didn't want to get any more, so I put up a block for them so they couldn't message me.  Apparently, this put them and their parents over the edge and they went pyscho on me.

Let me explain.

Their parents signed up for the Kids Bowl Free family package this summer. It cost $25 for 4 adults and any number of kids. Me and my other niece joined with them and paid our dues. I went out and got a bowling ball, shoes, bag, and glove. It cost me a small fortune to be able to bowl this summer. It was working out great too. We went at least once a week and I was just starting to improve.

With only one more month for bowling under this package, I was suddenly removed from the bowling list. When asked what happened, I was told that they removed me because I blocked them from Facebook. This was very upsetting, considering I paid to be able to bowl and they decided I bowled enough and deleted me from the package without refunding the money I had paid them.

If they thought this exchange was fair, they have lost their mind. They didn't pay to be able to send messages to me on Facebook. It was a free deal. However, I paid to bowl and they cut me off, without even telling me. Imagine my shock when I printed out my bowling coupons to go bowling one day and I was no longer listed on it.

I fed them, treated them to a dairy queen, entertained them, let them come over anytime they wanted to use my new pool, offered to pay them for their time helping me doing half the job I asked them to, and it just wasn't enough.

Their mom (my sister) said I should pay them AND give them a free $15 book. That's $25 worth of payment right there. However, I would still be blocked from finishing out my summer bowling, which I already had paid for.

Does this seem fair to you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Fear Within

As of today, I've sold 21 copies of my book, The Fear Within, which is a collection of 25 dark stories. Stories included:

  • Consumed -- A little girl must survive one night with her psychotic father.
  • Witches Bane -- While doing research, a young woman becomes possessed by the evil spirit of a centuries-old witch.
  • Eternity -- One person's journey into what he imagines Hell is like.
  • The Marina -- You never know what lies underneath the water at the marina.
  • 'Dem Bones -- A fun-filled trip to a cottage in the woods turns deadly as something stalks the inhabitants inside.
  • Lady Luck -- Gamblers pray to her all the time, but what happens when She demands something in return?
  • Bentley -- A young man has a love affair with his Bentley, to the point of madness.
  • Alien on Board -- Something has gotten on board the space station and it's up to Lt. Zach Shepherd to neutralize it before it turns the station into a smorgasbord.
  • Hell is Now Open -- Never stop at an out of the way diner in the middle of nowhere late at night.
  • Under a Watchful Eye -- A prison with no bars, no walls, and no way to escape.
  • The E-fection -- A virus infects the cell phone network, turning ordinary people into homicial maniacs. One man and woman are among the few uninfected and must play the game of survival.
  • Soul Catcher -- What happens to our souls between life and death? One woman must find out when it becomes her duty to protect lost souls from eternal damnation.
  • Route 270 -- One night, one cop, and certain disaster up ahead.
  • Dead Lines -- Don't answer that phone or you might be surprised who will be on the other end.
  • Dark Enclosure -- Being trapped in an elevator in the dark is the least of Derrick's worries.
  • Tunnel Creature -- An alien crash lands on Earth, but it's not peaceful and it's not here to exchange pleasantries.
  • Second Time Around -- Losing a loved one is hard, but for Keith, it's impossible. He'd do anything to have his new bride back -- anything at all!
  • Cursed in Camelot -- King Arthur is on the verge of insanity and in peril of losing his entire kingdom.
  • Remembrance -- Sometimes it's not so good to remember who we are or what we did.
  • Killer Reflection -- Carnivals can be fun, except when people go missing.
  • Behind Closed Doors -- Don't open that door in the basement or your life will never be the same.
  • After Hours -- Working late can mean certain death.
  • A Summons From Beyond -- A good old-fashioned western tale with plenty of zombies and tentacled creatures running around.
  • Lover's Retreat -- A romantic getaway that they can never get away from.
  • Program Stalker -- Computers that think on their own were just fantasies in the 1990's, but in 2025, they were reality.
You also get a bonus 100-word story entitled The Ghostly Stalker and an excerpt from my upcoming thriller novel, When Angels Sing.

The Fear Within can be purchased at amazon.com, your local bookstore, or at https://www.createspace.com/3447686

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two More Down

Went to the dentist today and sold two more books, woohoo. I was all excited, came home, and my dad asked if I coerced them into buying the book. He wondered if they bought it just because they felt sorry for me. Talk about raining on someone's parade.

Hot Vampires

Eric Northman (True Blood)

VS.

Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

Soooo, we went to Frankenmuth today, walked into the pewter store wearing my shirt promoting The Fear Within, and sold a copy of my book! The lady running the store ran in back to get some money and was so excited to have an actual author walk into her store. She mentioned another store opening up in the Riverplace there about Michigan products and recommended I try to get my book into that store. She said she would show it to the owner of the Michigan store and see what he says. She also said I should do some book signings and couldn't wait until my book shows up on Oprah's book club lol. Talk about being enthusiastic...it was so much fun today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Fear Within, Marketing Efforts

okay, so I've been marketing quite a bit over the past week or so. I sent around about 200 postcards in the neighborhood, gave notices to almost 250 of my customers, put a note in two newsletters that goes out to about 285 people, passed out a dozen or so business cards, had an ad on Facebook for 10 days, paid for an ad in Gila Queen, and am going to pay for another ad in the Michigan Literary Network. All in all, over 800 people so far have been informed about my recent book, The Fear Within. I hope some of those people become buyers :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Money Everywhere!

Are people made of money? I thought the state of our economy was so poor these days and people are losing jobs left and right. But yet, every time I turn around, another business is raising their prices.

As far as writing is concerned, new writers shouldn't have a lot of money to toss around. I would love to attend seminars to improve my writing or marketability; however, I can't afford $250. I can barely pay my bills as is!

I would love to join a group of self-published authors who help others promote their work; however, I can't afford $375 a year (and that's just for one book). If you have two books, it costs over $400 a year.

Why does everything have to cost so much?

It seems like I'm the only one that doesn't have any money these days. Is anyone else in this boat?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pet Peeves

One of my biggest pet peeves is living in a high-technological society with idiots who don't take advantage of that. For instance, why do businesses bother having a website with no way to conduct business via that website? I like to check out businesses first online before I have to call them (I hate talking on the phone).

Insurance companies and other service type companies should have prices listed or a way to get a free quote online. I don't want to call and be asked a myriad of questions on the phone just to get their rate. That's just silly. Anything that can be asked over the phone can be dealt with via email or a secure form.

And what's the point of having an email address to contact them with? A lot of times I don't get responses back or when I do, I get the favorite line, "in order to better serve you, please call our 1-800 number". They can't even answer a simple question online? Instead, I have to waste time dialing a phone, trying to figure out which number to push to get the right department, then I'll have to be put on hold any number of times during the call. Why? Don't those businesses realize people are in a hurry these days and don't have time to play their silly games?

Get a website and use it to its full advantage. I applaud those businesses that keep up with the times. Way to go!

So what are your pet peeves?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Writing Rant

Writing is a long and arduous process. You might sit at your computer for hours on end composing your next masterpiece or it's possible you just sat there staring at a blank screen. Some days the words come easier; other days, nothing. You're determined to make it in the writing world, though, so you condition yourself to be at your desk during your peak writing hours. It's hard when the phone keeps ringing, the dog wants to go out, the kids are fighting, the laundry needs to be done, your spouse is waiting for dinner, friends show up and want to hang out, and your favorite television show just started its new season.

Despite all the distractions in your life, you manage to knock out a great manuscript. It only took months out of your life. Those words on the page beg to be read. They are your lifeblood, springing from your sordid imagination. You swear they came directly from your soul.

So it's time to send it out into the world. Let your readers hear your words; see into your worlds; and live in your mind. Welcome them into your bosom. Treat them as royalty.

Unfortunately, the world won't be as kind. Your words will come back to you as rejections, one after another most likely. You just spent a good part of your life crafting a great piece. It came from deep inside you, but the publishing industry doesn't care. They took your words and stomped on them, cleaned the dirt off their shoes, and then dipped them in the toilet. It meant nothing to them.

This is the life of the writer. We spend our lives crafting words with meaning, but the competition is so fierce that only a small handful of brilliance ever gets through. It's a lonely life we weave.

Online Grammar Quiz

Wow, guess my grammar isn't as good as I thought it would be:

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar_quiz/punctuation_mastery.asp

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where to Walk, OMG!

It seems to me that every day I see more and more people walking and running in the street instead of the sidewalk. Is there something wrong with the sidewalk? I always thought streets were for motor vehicles. It's annoying when a car has to drive around a jogger because they felt the sidewalk wasn't good enough for them.

Anyway, your goal for today, should you decide to do it, is to craft a well-written short story about a world that has no sidewalks. People walking their dogs, taking their kids out for a stroll, riding bikes, and jogging all need to share the road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Will this lead to more accidents or will the characters in your world learn to be more careful?

Have fun!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Write in the Laundromat

I saw this poem by Marcy Sheiner and wanted to share it.

I write in the Laundromat.
I am a woman
and between wash & dry cycles
I write.

I write while the beans soak
and with children's voices in my ear.
I spell out words for scrabble
while I am writing.

I write as I drive to the office
where I type a man's letters
and when he goes to lunch
I write.

When the kids go out the door
On Saturday I write
and while the frozen dinners thaw
I write.

I write on the toilet
and in the bathtub
and when I appear to be talking
I am often writing.

I write in the Laundromat
while the kids soak
with scrabbled ears
and beans in the office
and frozen toilets
and in the car
between wash and dry.

And your words
and my words
and her words
and their words
and I am a woman
and I write in the Laundromat.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Parking/Traffic Laws in Michigan

I'm out delivering papers this morning and it irks me when people have to park on bends on side streets. This should be illegal, but I guess it's not. What's even worse was on one street there were two cars parked on the bend, one on either side of the street. Are people that oblivious or are they just stupid? It's very difficult to see around the bend if there are other cars coming or not, so this makes driving dangerous for others. Use common sense, people!

One thing that I believe is illegal in Michigan is people who don't move over when they see a police car on the side of the road. This is called the Move Over Law. I did this today. There were two police cars who had pulled someone over. They were in the left lane. I saw them in plenty of time and moved over one lane before I got there. I was the only one that moved over. No one else ahead of me or behind me moved over. Of course, I had to get right back in the lane I was in to make a turn, so I had to wait for traffic to clear since none of the idiots thought it prudent enough to move over.

What types of parking violations will warrant a ticket in Michigan?

Parking in a disabled space without the proper permit or disabled driver license plate, parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, 20 feet of a fire station driveway, or 500 feet of a car accident. It is illegal to park on a highway, bridge, or overpass, in an intersection or crosswalk, or blocking a driveway, alley, or sidewalk wheelchair access ramp. When parallel parking, do not park more than 12 inches from the curb. Double parking is also illegal. Remember that in addition to these state laws, you must also obey all locally posted parking signs.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Virtual Book Tours

I finally published my first book. It's a short story collection entitled The Fear Within (see side bar). Now that it's finally completed, I would like nothing better than to prop my feet up, relax, and wait for the orders to roll in. Not so! I need to market it like I had only two weeks left to live.

Okay, so I spent a small fortune on marketing materials already. Then I found this cool little idea about something called a virtual book tour. It's similar to a regular book tour except it's all done online. No traipsing around from one bookstore to another and no wasting valuable time and gas commuting to and from places.

From what I understand, though, an author should prepare for a virtual book tour one month ahead of the scheduled tour. That leaves enough time to get a press kit together and find people that will be willing to host me and my book.

I'm cutting it about a week short though. We're one week into July already and I'd like to start my virtual book tour on August 1, 2010. So far I have one person willing to feature me on their blog. I'm rocking and a-rolling now! :-)

I would love to come visit your blog or website in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps we can strike up a bargain somehow and you would be willing to host me on my book tour. If you are interested, please reply here. Even if you have no intention of helping me along my virtual tour, it's okay to invite me to come visit you anyway. Just make sure to let me know ahead of time that you don't do book tours.

I'll post here quite often regarding my trek into the virtual book tour industry. This might turn into something really interesting. Keep watching for more exciting news!

P.S. Please check out my book and help support me. I'd like to be able to at least sell a dozen or so books. If you don't like horror or science fiction but know someone else who does and is an avid reader, why not buy it for them or ask them to check it out? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Books for the Military

I'm taking book donations to send overseas to our men and women in the military. No romances or sexually explicit materials please. Books needed: Actions, Bestsellers, Biographies and Memoirs, Fantasy, History, Horror, Mysteries, Science Fiction, and True Crime. You may also donate automotive magazines, comics/graphic novels, and sports magazines. Prefer paperbacks but will accept hard covers.

Shipments will go out on Fridays, so please send your books by 3:00 p.m. on Friday. If you have any books to donate, please contact me and I'll let you know where to bring/send them.

Creative Writing Games

This morning, I was doing what I do best -- that is, surfing the Internet for fun and games :-) Anyway, I came across this website called Votepages. Votepages is a creative writing game where one person starts writing something and then passes it off for others to contribute. Those contributions are put to a vote to decide what comes next.

If you have the time, check it out.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day in the States

Today is July 4th, the day when America celebrates its independence. But are we still free after all these years? It seems to me like the United States is losing some of that independence every year. We're starting to be treated like kids and told what to do.

We can't smoke here (not that I smoke and I'm one for the new no-smoking law), we have to be a certain age to do this, we have to wear seat belts, we can't jay walk, we have to have a passport to travel, there are stricter flying regulations, obesity is a problem so the government feels like it has to step in (to save our lives), the government is now running our banks, redoing credit cards, and is now offering a mandatory health care for all U.S. citizens for a price.

So what happened to the independence we earned a couple hundred years ago? It's quickly going out the door. Yes, it's true that our country isn't half as bad as some (yet) and I suppose we are still more free than others, but how much longer before that ends?

I guess we have to make the best of what we have and celebrate Independence Day as if it might be our last. However, can someone please explain the joy of shooting off firecrackers? All they do is make a loud bang. How can anyone enjoy that? Fireworks maybe, but big bangs? It's very annoying.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Fear Within

The Rude Syndrome

What is wrong with people these days?

I was driving around at work this morning and I saw two houses that were tp'ed. Why do losers do this? It isn't funny. It's just immature and rude. What gives them the right to deface someone else's property? And don't give me any crap about toilet paper being biodegradable. People who do this sort of thing should be in prison.

Then several days in a row I saw fast food wrappers in the streets. Are people really that lazy they can't make it to a garbage can and think it's okay to just toss their wrappers out the window?

So then I go to a ballgame tonight. Two ladies with two small children sat next to us. The older kid was standing up and blocking the people behind him, so those people kept asking him to sit down. The mother seemed to get upset at this, so she switches seats with him. He sits down but now she stands up in front of the people. Talk about being rude and inconsiderate. What's her problem?

Idiots. The world is full of idiots. Everyone thinks they can just do whatever they darn well please and screw any consequences. No one seems to care about the other person at all anymore. What's this world coming to?

I get to see my niece once a month. She comes to my house the second Thursday of every month, September through June. She couldn't come over last month though because she was sick. I was all excited for her to come over this month. I went out and bought food for dinner and waited for her to show up. I waited and waited. She never showed up. I thought we had an understanding. She always called me when she wasn't going to come over, so why hadn't she called me this time? I just asked her last week if she was coming. She couldn't pick up a phone and let me know she couldn't make it? Now that's just plain rude. I guess we can't really count on anyone.

What is wrong with people these days?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wii Fit Plus

I had the great pleasure of being able to try the Wii Fit Plus game a couple of months ago. Fortunately, my niece had the original Wii Fit with Balance Board, so all she had to do was purchase the Wii Fit Plus game. This updated version includes all the original Wii Fit's exercises -- yoga, stretching, aerobics, etc. However, it also includes some new ones, such as my favorite Kung Fu Rhythms, along with new jogging courses, yoga poses, and strength exercises. I also liked the additional feature that allows you to set up a profile for your pet. I added my dog, Sheba. Of course, she can't play the games (that would be silly!) lol, but it allows you to be able to weigh your pet.

*sigh*

Unfortunately, I have wanted to get myself a copy of this game for almost four months now. I don't have the original and I don't have my own balance board, so I wanted to purchase the Wii Fit Plus with the Balance Board for $99. No one has this item in stock. It hasn't been in stock anywhere for the past three months and I check on a weekly basis. Of course, you can't even order it online and have it shipped. Why is it not available for shipping? When will the hype die down so that this product will once again be in stock?

You can get it at places like ebay, but only if you want to pay more than the retail price. That's plain ridiculous. $99 is a lot of money already, why would I want to pay $150 or $200 from some idiot who wants to make a profit off this?

Oh well, I guess I'll either have to bide my time or just forget about ever owning a balance board game. Why don't they sell the balance boards by themselves?

So long, Wii Fit Plus :-(

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Little Story

The dark side calls to me, beckons me with open arms. It's the inner demon of my brain, where it sinks its claws into my mind and pokes holes in the imagination so that my creativity seeps out onto the written page. I have known this beast has existed for some time. Every once in awhile, I let it loose to wreak havoc with my characters. It has become a separate entity, taking on a life of its own. I can control it, for the most part, but it's always there, tormenting me and pushing me to be the best.

I have struggled with this darkness most of my life. There is a never-ending struggle between the good christian I was raised and the blackness within. I am fascinated by evil, although nothing evil has ever physically touched me or my family. We are church-going folks, who pray to God and believe in miracles, but that doesn't stop me from observing the evil that men (and women) do. It's amazing to what lengths people will go to just to get what they want.

As for me, I lead a very sheltered life. I'm a loner and that's okay. Evil can't have me, no matter what the world has in store for me. Oh, don't get me wrong. It has tried on many occasions, but I guess I'm doing something right in my life.

My only problem is I enjoy solitude. I view the world around me as if I just stepped off the boat into Hell. People lie, steal, kill, cheat, and just plain have no manners. I suppose everyone has some good in them, though. Unfortunately, their demons seem to be more prominent. It's sad really. I'm no different. I pride myself on being honest and loyal, but in the end, I'm just a basket case for the darkness.