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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