Teen Bookfest by the Bay

Friends.  Wow.  Where to even begin?

This weekend, I drove down to Corpus Christi to be a signing author and a panelist for the third annual Teen Bookfest by the Bay.  It was my first time so I had no idea what to expect.

I don’t know how else to say this other than it was one of them most incredible experiences of my life.

16807314_10210597323182931_5962891463737321818_n

It all began with a welcome dinner at the Art Museum of South Texas, where the event coordinators and sponsors had put together a wonderful meal (plus chocolate-covered strawberries!).

Each author was also presented with our very own swag bags, complete with snacks, chocolate, t-shirts, name badges, water bottles, and sea shells.  Let me tell you, I have never felt so spoiled in my life.

After dinner (and a quick trip down to the water’s edge to take pictures of the USS Lexington lit up in blue, it was back to the hotel.

Sadly, my straight hair, which had been so beautiful, was no match for Corpus Christi humidity.  That’s okay.  I’ll straighten it for Comic Con.

The next morning, we were all awake bright and early.  Early enough, even, to watch the sun rise over the water from my hotel balcony.

16832180_10210597316942775_3543918044209548105_n

Then, it was off to the festival.  Before breakfast (again, provided by our sponsors and the wonderful librarians who organized the event), I dropped my books off with the others at the sales table.  It was then that I began to realize that I recognized several of the titles being sold alongside mine.  One of which happened to be one of my favorite books of all time, Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley.

“Wait a minute… Is she here?!” I gasped.

That’s when I remembered that the day before, when I’d first arrived at the hotel, I’d ridden up the elevator with a woman named Terri.  I’d been chatting with a woman who’d written one of my favorite books and I hadn’t even realized it.

Needless to say, I completely fangirled out when I met her for the second time.  Terri Farley, it turns out, is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.  She’s also a huge animal lover and has written a non-fiction book called Wild Horses.  I can’t wait to read it.  It’s a beautiful books and features photographs by a National Geographic wildlife photographer, basically my dream job.

After a brief welcome, it was time for our first panel.  Now, I’ve never been one for public speaking. I remember in college, I would prepare slide shows so I would have something to read.  But my fellow authors on the panel, Laura Stampler and Guadalupe Garcia McCall, were so friendly and wonderful and sweet.  They made me feel right at ease and we spent most of our panels laughing.  And talking about books, of course.

At first, I’ll admit, I felt a lithe intimidated.  After all, Laura is published by Simon & Schuster and Guadalupe has won multiple, and I do mean MULTIPLE awards.  I’m just a little indie author from a small town north of Dallas.  In what universe was I worthy to sit next to them and act like I deserved to be there?

But then I thought to myself, “You know what?  No.  You worked your butt off to get here.  You and all the indies.  You’re out there every day fighting the stigma that independent authors aren’t as good as those who’ve been traditionally published when you know that that simply isn’t true.  Not just because you love your books, but because you’ve read and loved so many other indie books.”

So instead of sheepishly admitting that I’d published my own books, I proudly told our audiences that I’d learned the ins and outs of publishing, marketing, formatting, and cover design.  I told them of my friends and colleagues in the independent community who’ve written fantastic books, ones that I recommend over and over and over again.  I told them of the anthologies to which I’ve contributed, including Ever in the After, a charity anthology that will benefit Lift 4 Autism.

When my panel wasn’t presenting, I snuck upstairs to listen to my friend Miracle Austin’s panel.  She (and this is where I get to start name-dropping) shared a panel with multi-bestselling author Jonathan Maberry.

Seriously, this guy has done it all.  I can’t even begin to list his titles, awards, accomplishments, Marvel comics, X-Files, all this super cool amazing stuff.  And the best part of all is he’s SUCH a cool, nice person!  As I was on the escalator back down to the first floor, I noticed him walking by.  Being the elegant and mature grown-up person that I am, I yelled out, “Mr. Maberry!” and began running UP the escalator that was going down.

I introduced myself not as Jacqueline Smith, but as Miracle Austin’s friend, and basically fangirled all over the place.  But seriously, how else do you act around such a legend?

Speaking of Miracle, I just have to take a moment to thank her.  Not only for her unconditional love and friendship, but for telling me about Teen Bookfest by the Bay in the first place.  Without her, I would never have known to send in my name and my books.  Not only is she an absolutely amazing author (Jonathan Maberry even says so!), she’s the most genuine, sweet, wonderful, sparkly person you will ever meet.  I am so fortunate to be able to call her my friend.  She’s a rare one.

16649411_10210579864626478_5703606548906822550_n

I have so many other stories I could tell you from this weekend.  I met Ann Redisch Stampler, author of After Party, Where it Began, and How To Disappear.  Again, one of the absolute sweetest people you could ever hope to meet.  I ate lunch with Diana Lopez, whose novel, Choke, became the Lifetime Original Movie The Choking Game.  I reconnected with my friend, Amanda M. Thrasher, author of The Greenlee Project which, in my humble opinion, should also be a Lifetime Original Movie.  I met other amazing and sweet and friendly authors like Manuel Ruiz, Brendan Kiely (rhymes with smiley), and illustrator Evan Turk. And again, the best part was how genuinely NICE and open and inviting these exceptionally talented authors are.  God, I felt so accepted and welcome and fortunate.  What an incredible experience.  Truly.

Finally, the amazing librarians, Debbie Carroll VanZandt and her team are simply the best in the world.  They genuinely love and care about their kids and work tirelessly to promote reading and literacy and to make reading fun for these teens.  And wow, do they know how to make authors feel spoiled and special.  We wanted for nothing all weekend.  Honestly, I’ll never be able to thank them enough.

All I can truly say is that I’m counting down the days until next year!  Thank you all again for the experience of a lifetime.  It’s one that I will never forget.

The Space Between Us

Hi, friends!

Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I’m sorry.  That was a semi-conscious decision.  There’s just been so much negativity in our world and on TV and on social media and emotions have been running so high that, for my own sanity, I had to take a step back.

January was a pretty big month.  I turned 29.  I got some work done.  I’m in the middle of writing the fourth Boy Band book called Spotlight.  And I’m working on a new standalone book as well!  And let me tell you, I’m having so much fun.

spotlight-cover

I’ve also seen a few wonderful movies in the past few months.  The first of which was Moana.  I love Disney.  I love the ocean.  Naturally, I loved Moana.  But God, that movie made me bawl.  I’m not kidding you.  I was weeping.  The last Disney movie to make me cry like that was The Lion King.

Then there was Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. 

Y’all.

Y’all.

Oh my God.

I didn’t write a review for this movie because I literally have nothing to say other than it’s perfect.  Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a perfect movie.  Everything about it is perfect.  Everything.

Newt is perfect.

The Niffler is perfect.

The score is perfect.

The costumes are perfect.

The magic is perfect.

Colin Farrell is perfect.

The subtle Harry Potter references are perfect.

Jakweenie is perfect.

PERFECT MOVIE IS PERFECT.

I could go on forever about how much I love this movie and the cast and the fact that it’s so much better than the eight Harry Potter movies (not books) and all my fan conspiracy theories and my borderline unhealthy love for Colin Farrell… But I’ll spare you.  Just know that I have never been more blissfully enraptured by a movie before and I doubt I will be again.

Well, at least until the second installment.

All that being said, I do have a new movie review for you, one in which I am not quite so emotionally invested as Disney or Harry Potter.

I’ve been wanting to see The Space Between Us since I first saw the trailer.  It looked exactly like my kind of sci-fi movie: a sappy teenage flick with a love story and a road trip.  The reviews weren’t exactly love letters.  Several critics pointed out that the science, the physics, the math, the technology was all ludicrous.  It could never work.  But you know what?  As a writer and as a movie-goer, I don’t go to see movies for their mathematical or scientific accuracy.  I go to be entertained.  I go for a story.  And come on.  It’s fiction.  I know this kid didn’t actually grow up on Mars.  I know I have to suspend belief for a while if I’m going to go see a movie like this.  Besides, as a person with a very, very basic understanding of physics and space travel and technology and what-not… I’m not going to know the difference.

I mean, my grandfather probably would have known the difference.  But I bet he also would have thought it was a cute story.  So whatever.

However, after reading all the negative reviews, I’ll admit that I second-guessed my eagerness to see the movie.  But then I read a review that called it “Nicholas Sparks type garbage” and I knew then that I would enjoy it.  For those of you who don’t know me, Nicholas Sparks type garbage is totally my kind of garbage.

So, without further ado…

Thoughts on The Space Between Us

SPOILER WARNING! 

  • You couldn’t pay me enough to go into space.
  • Of course they’d call this colony in the middle of dusty nowhere East Texas.
  • Why is Gary Oldman kind of hot as an old space geek?
  • He wasn’t even hot as Sirius Black. And Sirius Black is supposed to be hot.
  • Okay, I’m glad this kid grew up with other people.  For some reason, I was really concerned that he grew up on Mars alone.
  • Ugh Britt Robertson. I can’t stand her. I don’t know why. I’m sure she’s a lovely person. But as an actress, she’s like the human embodiment of nails on a chalkboard to me.
  • Also, she was born in 1990 and she’s playing a 17-year-old.
  • Oh look, she’s playing a song she wrote on the piano to show us how deep and vulnerable she is.
  • Gag me.
  • Gardener going through his post-puberty-rebellious stage on Mars.
  • BD Wong, why aren’t you taking care of your dinosaurs?
  • Somehow, surrogate space mom persuades BD Wong that bringing this kid back to Earth is a good idea despite his enlarged heart and brittle bones.
  • I’m actually really happy that Gardener gets to go to Earth but I’m already stressed out because I’ve seen the previews and I know his heart isn’t going to survive.
  • Stressful Martian kids.
  • Okay, Gardener is actually adorable.  Talking with that old homeless guy.  He’s so awkward and sweet.  I love him.
  • That guy on the bus is pretty much everyone in the entire world when strangers attempt to strike up conversations.
  • Gardener walking awkwardly into school.  God, he’s so cute.
  • Ugh, Britt Robertson, you’re such a little brat.
  • Tulsa.  What kind of a weird name is Tulsa?  I don’t even care that that’s the city she was abandoned in or whatever.  Sadly, I don’t even care that she was abandoned because she’s just that annoying.
  • Gardener walking into class and being adorable.  Can’t we just have a whole movie of him being awkward?  It would be much better without Tulsa’s tragic backstory.  Maybe I’d feel more sorry for her if the beautiful foster daughter who seems edgy on the outside but is actually loving with a beautiful spirit on the inside wasn’t SO overdone.  And often, so poorly executed.
  • Okay, I know I said that I was going to suspend disbelief going into this movie, but that was for the Mars stuff.  I don’t, for one second, believe this chick knows how to fly an old crop-duster plane.  No way.
  • Oh yeah, teenagers survive small aircraft crashes all the time.
  • Wow, these kids get away with a LOT of grand theft auto.
  • Tulsa sure does put up with a lot of weird from a boy she technically just met.  I mean, I know they’ve been Skype buddies for a while.  But still.
  • Oh my God, Gardener’s reaction to seeing the horse is so cute.  I just want a whole movie of this.
  • Ugh, Tulsa’s back at the piano again.  Writers, take note.  There are far less cheesy ways to communicate that a character is deep and beautiful and sees the world in a different way and blah, blah, blah.
  • Gardener’s health is still stressing me out.
  • I love this song by James Bay. “Need the Sun to Break.” It’s one of my new favorites.
  • Okay, I think we all knew that ending was coming.
  • I’m happy Gary Oldman got his dream.  I don’t know why anyone would want to live on Mars though.  It really doesn’t seem all that great.  Just a lot of red dust.
  • It would be fun to weigh less though.

Overall, The Space Between Us is a really cute movie.  I’d definitely see it again.  Don’t let the critics discourage you.  Of course, it’s no Fantastic Beasts, but let’s be honest, what is?

Thanks For The Memories

2016 was an interesting year to say the very least. I know several people who are more than ready to bid this year a rather disdainful adieu. But you know, 2016 wasn’t all political warfare and celebrity deaths. I can’t speak for everyone, but there are several moments from the past year on which I will look back with fondness.

And what better way to look back than with Instagram pictures?

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-37-04-pm

  1. Birthday Party at Painting with a Twist.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-36-41-pm

2. Hot Chocolate by the fire.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-38-02-pm

3. Hiking the ENTIRE 9 miles around White Rock Lake.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-38-36-pm

4. Camping and sleeping outside for the very first time.

5. Adventures at Fossil Rim and Glen Rose Dinosaur Park.

6. My sister’s junior voice recital.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-47-31-pm

7. The Little Mermaid, Wicked, and The Book of Mormon (not pictured).

8. Book Events.

9. Earth Day Celebration.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-51-26-pm

10. A visit to Pioneer Village.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-55-29-pm

11. My best friend moved home to Texas! This was definitely the best thing to happen to me this year!

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-56-29-pm

12. I took a dream vacation by myself to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, climbed two lighthouses, and visited the wild mustangs who live on the beaches.

13. I traveled to Arkansas to see my sister perform in Pinocchio.

14. A stop in to pay my respects to those buried at Showman’s Rest in Hugo, Oklahoma… the same graveyard featured in the third Cemetery Tours novel, After Death.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-01-33-pm

15. Published the third book in the Boy Band Series and had a short story featured in Lurking in the Shadows!

16. Reconnected with old friends at my ten-year high school reunion. screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-04-09-pm

17. Met Aaron Watson.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-07-29-pm

18. Celebrated the release of a “new” Harry Potter book… and was officially sorted into Ravenclaw!

19. Boy Band and Backstage won a few cool awards!

20. My sister and I traveled to Oklahoma to see 5 Seconds of Summer.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-12-56-pm

21. I donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-13-28-pm

22. Found out I haven’t lost my touch at this Dave and Buster’s arcade game.

23. We all realized our childhood dreams of becoming Pokemon Masters.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-15-51-pm

24. Had an amazing experience at the Texas Teen Book Festival (and got to spend the weekend with my dear friend Kara!)

25. Boy Band was featured in a SugarScape article! THIS was so very cool.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-24-36-pm

26. Ghost hunting, sunrises on the beach, exploring submarines and World War II warships in Galveston.

27. I met Daymond John and gave him a copy of Cemetery Tours and a hug.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-30-25-pm

28. Sold books and ate the most amazing cheesecake on a stick at Texas Renaissance Festival.

29. Met a childhood hero.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-33-10-pm

30. Saw my sister perform in the Phantom of the Opera.

31. Found adventure in Lubbock (and trust me, that is not easy).

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-34-40-pm

32. Returned to the stage for the first time since grad school.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-36-49-pm

33. And of course, read lots and lots and lots of books.

Ten Years Ago

This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but due to holiday festivities, I’ve definitely been slacking as far as reading, writing, and blogging go. Now that Christmas has once again come and gone, I finally have time to sit down with my computer and catch up on all the work that I’ve so blissfully and willingly ignored. Okay, maybe not blissfully. I actually really, really enjoy what I do. But it has been wonderful catching up and spending time with my friends and family.

A couple of weeks back, I had a girls night with two of my closest friends from high school. We haven’t seen each other nearly as much as I’d like in the past ten years, but I’m hoping that we can change that.

As we sat around in one of their brand new, super fancy, super spacious houses, we started talking about our senior year of high school and where we thought that we would be when we reached 28 (or in our cases, almost 29…).

Friend A thought that she would be married with kids, a house, and a great career. Today, she has a good job and spends most of her free time horseback riding.

Friend B thought that she would be living like a gypsy, traveling the world. Today, she’s married with a great house and a career that makes her good money, but that she’s not all that passionate about. She would rather be an artist.

As for me? I thought I’d be living at the beach and taking care of marine mammals. That’s all I wanted. Part of me still desperately wants for it to happen and dares to dream that one day, it might. I never dreamed that I’d end up writing books. Of course, now that I’m almost 29, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my twenties, it’s that life doesn’t always play out the way you imagine it will, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I know that I’ve written similar sentiments on this blog before, but honestly, it comforts me. I like knowing that things happen for a reason and having some assurance that maybe I am where I’m meant to be in life.

Contentment

When I woke up this morning, I found myself thinking about all the things that I want to happen in 2017. Most importantly, perhaps, is finishing the four books I have in the works and getting them published and out into the world. I only published one book this year (though I’ve had short stories in other publications) and somehow, that feels weird, like I’ve been slacking off. Granted, I’ve been traveling more and trying to learn about marketing, but I’m definitely not a one-book-a-year kind of girl.

Then I began to wonder if there’s anyone out there who can actually say, “Yeah, I did everything I wanted to do in 2016. I am accomplished. I am content.” If they exist, I must admit, a part of me envies them. The other part of me, however, can’t help but wonder, “If they’re perfectly content, then what do they hope for? What drives them?”

By the way, yes, this is pretty much exactly what you get out of the book, Who Moved My Cheese?

Still, I think it’s worth noting that it’s okay to feel like you have more to accomplish. It’s okay to feel like you could have done more this year. Heck, I think that’s pretty human. Do any of us ever truly live up to our full potential? It would be wonderful if we did and I do believe we should always try our best to do so, but we shouldn’t dwell on what hasn’t happened yet either.

I love having goals, having hopes, having dreams. I love having something to work for. I’ve been this way since I was little. True, my hopes and dreams have evolved and expanded a bit since I was seven, but for the most part, I still find myself enthralled by the possibilities of the future.

There is always room for improvement. I hope that I am still striving to improve myself and the world around me in fifty years. I hope I find joy, love, peace, excitement, adventure. But in a strange way, I hope I never find contentment.

15400447_1216502985104859_104661337336932705_n

 

Ever in the After Cover Reveal!

cover-reveal

In Ever in the After, 13 authors come together to explore fantastical realms full of supernatural creatures, dark intrigue, and spells that may–or may not–be curses.

ever-in-the-after_cover_bn

This anthology features work by:

  • Melle Amade
  • Miracle Austin
  • J. A. Culican
  • Madeline Dyer
  • Jessica Hawke
  • Alaina Hebert
  • Elizabetta Holcomb
  • Stephanie Keyes
  • Christopher D. Morgan
  • Mandy Peterson
  • Alice Rachel
  • Cadence Rae
  • Jacqueline E. Smith

A must-have fantasy collection full of surprises, secrets, and strong teenagers who know what they need to do to succeed in these mystical realities.

Please add Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on Goodreads now!

Buy your copy of Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on April 1st, 2017!

15202509_10209836372119630_666195267308732586_n

Stacking the Shelves

Celebrity Readers

stacking-the-shelves

(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

325993653098202930337432.jpg

  • Falling Softly by Maria Duffy from Hachette Books Ireland — released October 13th, 2016.
  • The Fifth Petal (The Lace Reader #2) by Brunonia Barry from Crown Publishing — releases January 24th, 2017.
  • Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James from Del Rey (Random House Publishing Group — Ballantine) — releases February 14th, 2017.

Amazon Freebies That I Got From My eReaderIQ Email:

18916059316257421303732151nz-obahl16118018258278211892659851wjif70hal41-wugvuy9l2975319732186753

View original post 1,165 more words

Character ABC Survey

My friend and fellow author James William Peercy tagged me in a fun character survey. He answered all of these questions as Bob the Pixie from his fantasy series, The Xun Ove Series.

Bob The Pixie

A- Age: My age? I’ll have you know I’m barely over the age where a young adult pixie is allowed to fly outside the queen’s forest! 501 years.
B- Biggest fear: Fly swatters. Definitely, fly swatters. They come up at the most annoying times when I try to sneak a taste of cherry pie.
C- Current time: The Elf’s queen’s time of the second solstice moon as the first crosses the horizon.
D- Drink you last had: He grins sheepishly. Hot chocolate, of course!
E- Every day starts with: Faries playing magical notes using honeysuckle horns.
F- Favorite song: “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead…” I learned that from Jonna when I “stepped across the barrier.”
G- Ghosts, are they real?: Of course, they are real! Just ask Jonna!
H- Hometown: The forest of Eolande in Faerydale. We are part of the Kingdom of the Elves by royal decree!
I – In love with: Crystilic, without a doubt!
J- Jealous of: Well, maybe not jealousy, but there was this pixie I met in Jonna’s world. He was named Jamal, but that’s another story.
K- Killed someone? Kill? Heavens no! However, I made a troll really sick when he tried to eat me!
L- Last time you cried? Shh! Bob leans closer and whispers. The first time Jonna said he was my friend, I might, MIGHT, have shed a tear.
M- Middle name: Yeah, if you can’t pronounce my first name, how do you expect to say my middle name?
N- Number of siblings: Are you kidding? Let me count the eggs. Wait! Oh, you mean MY siblings, not the hen house where I was, er. What was that question again?
O- One wish: Why do I need wishes? He reaches into his pixie dust bag and holds out sparkles. I grant those! Bob grins.
P- Person you last called: Does shouting for Snovipa the tree sprite count? The forest echoes quite nicely!
Q- Question you’re always asked: What is my real first name?
R- Reason to smile: Why wouldn’t you? Life is magical after all!
S- Song last sang: Why just this morning it was “I never promised you a pixie garden.”
T- Time you woke up: Crack of dawn. How else do we lighten the forest with our laughter?
U- Underwear color: The queen’s royal green of course! And that’s enough about that. Next question!
V- Vacation destination: Pixie’s have those? What have I been missing?
W- Worst habit: Bob’s face turns red. Are you crazy? Only nuns have those!
X- X-Rays you’ve had: No X-rays. He looks up at the sun streaming through the tree. Maybe a couple of A or B-rays.
Y- Your favorite food: Hot Chocolate! What are you saying? It is too a food!
Z- Zodiac sign: Ophiuchus, The Serpent Bearer. He holds his hands out in front of him. I know what you’re thinking, but there are 13 signs, not 12, in my world.

James then challenged me to fill out the survey, first as Michael Sinclair from Cemetery Tours, then as Mel Parker from Boy Band. So, here goes nothing!

14720507_1889625327934335_3693839034911292689_n

Michael Sinclair

A- Age: 28.
B- Biggest fear: Endangering the ones that I love. And weird people in masks.
C- Current time: 7:00
D- Drink you last had: I had a glass of wine with Kate at dinner.
E- Every day starts with: Brink complaining about being bored until I get out of bed.
F- Favorite song: “She is the Sunlight” by Trading Yesterdays.
G- Ghosts, are they real? Unfortunately. (Brink is reading over my shoulder and just shouted “RUDE!” He knows I’m joking. Sort of).
H- Hometown: Dallas, Texas
I – In love with: Kate Avery.
J- Jealous of: People who can’t see ghosts. (Brink just yelled at me again).
K- Killed someone? If I did, they’d just come back to haunt me. So no.
L- Last time you cried? I really don’t cry all that much. Brink thinks I might be a high-functioning sociopath. But honestly, I think the last time I cried was last October when I thought I might lose Kate…
M- Middle name: James
N- Number of siblings: One.
O- One wish: Honestly? I just want my loved ones to be safe and happy.
P- Person you last called: My mom.
Q- Question you’re always asked: It’s a three-way tie between “So… Can you really see ghosts?” “Do I have a ghost with me?” and “What do you want for dinner?” That last one is Kate.
R- Reason to smile: Kate. Brink. My Mom. And okay, fine, Luke too.
S- Song last sang: Kate and Luke are always trying to get me to sing the “Ghostbusters” song. Especially since the new movie came out and they decided that it’s the best movie ever. Even though Luke claims that he still likes the original best, he is constantly texting me quotes from the new one.  He also thinks that he looks like Chris Hemsworth.
T- Time you woke up: Uhhh… ten? Since I work for myself now, I don’t really bother setting an alarm anymore.
U- Underwear color: This is an uncomfortable question… I think I’m wearing blue plaid boxers but I’m not invested enough to check…
V- Vacation destination: A secluded cabin in the woods with Kate. Preferably in an area that isn’t haunted.
W- Worst habit: Brink thinks I have an attitude problem. I think I’m too old for an 18-year-old roommate.
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Most recently, last summer when I broke my shoulder.
Y- Your favorite food: I’ll eat just about anything. I really love my mom’s red velvet cake though.
Z- Zodiac sign: Taurus

14971284_10209596770649743_713512821_n

Melissa Parker

A- Age: 21. I’ll be 22 in December though. And no, despite what Sam may tell you, I am NOT a cougar.
B- Biggest fear: Flying.
C- Current time: 8:05 Eastern Time.
D- Drink you last had: Gingerbread latte from Starbucks.
E- Every day starts with: Thankfulness that I’m waking up in a nice bed in a hotel room and not in a tour bus across the aisle from Josh who doesn’t change his socks nearly as much as he claims he does.
F- Favorite song: “Snowlight” by The Kind of September ❤
G- Ghosts, are they real? Um, I’ve never seen one but in high school, Joni and I asked a Ouija board if Sam would ask me to Prom. It said yes. He didn’t.
H- Hometown: San Francisco, California.
I – In love with: Samuel Spencer Morneau. ❤
J- Jealous of: I’m actually not jealous of anyone right now. My life is pretty awesome.
K- Killed someone? Nope.
L- Last time you cried? Sam took me to see The Phantom of the Opera the other day. We both cried, though I don’t think he’d appreciate me actually telling people that…
M- Middle name: Kearney, my dad’s mother’s maiden name.
N- Number of siblings: Two.
O- One wish: Okay, this one I definitely can’t write down on the Internet.
P- Person you last called: Chloe.
Q- Question you’re always asked: Is Sam a good kisser? For the record, the answer is yes.
R- Reason to smile: Music, friends, family, the opportunity to travel, photography… And Sam. ❤
S- Song last sang: “The Phantom of the Opera.” Turns out I am not destined for Broadway. Believe it or not, Sam isn’t either. Or if he is, he’s not destined to play the Phantom. He’s too perky.
T- Time you woke up: 8:00 AM.
U- Underwear color: White… I know, I’m boring.
V- Vacation destination: Alaska.
W- Worst habit: I’m a dweller. I dwell on everything. And it’s so stressful.
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Dental x-rays…
Y- Your favorite food: Chocolate covered strawberries.
Z- Zodiac sign: Capricorn.

 

Election Day

I don’t like to get political online. In fact, I don’t like politics, period. I am of the mindset that politics brings out the worst in people, and this election season, I think we’ve seen some of the very worst that humanity has to offer.

I’ve done my research. I have my opinions and beliefs. I’ve voted. Did I make the right choice? God, I hope so. I have so many friends and family members who are so certain. I kind of envy them. Because this decision was not easy for me.

But you know what? That’s behind me. And my personal beliefs are not the things weighing heavily on my heart right now. It’s what will happen after the election, specifically how we will exist, together, as the United States of America.

No matter who wins tomorrow night, there is a gory, bloody rift in our country that desperately needs mending. I don’t know what happened or who is to blame (if anyone is to blame), but I pray with all that I have in me that it ends. The animosity that exists between those who disagree is sickening. Grown adults don’t listen to one another. They resort to name-calling and throwing accusations and all kinds of other words and actions that only breed resentment. I understand that many people are standing up for what they believe and think that they are defending and honoring their principles and I do believe that those are good things. But you’re not going to change anyone’s mind at all by fighting. Nor will they feel you have any respect for them if you don’t listen.

That’s what we’re lacking this election season: respect for those who may believe differently than we do, who’ve had different experiences, who are facing different battles. Somehow, it’s become all about us, and unfortunately, I see that selfishness reflected in our candidates.

No matter who wins tomorrow, we as a people and as a nation need to do better. We’ve got to stop with the divisive rhetoric, the absolute refusal to listen or respect anyone’s opinion but our own, the name-calling, the accusations… all of it. We are better than this, or at least, we’re supposed to be. We throw our hands up in frustration when our representatives in Washington can’t compromise and work together. Is it really all that surprising when we’ve existed with the “us vs. them” mentality for as long as we have?

There is no us and there is no them. There is the citizens of the United States of America. And it’s high time we remembered that. Because we will tear ourselves apart if we don’t learn to listen, to respect, and to love. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House. It is OUR job to fix our broken country. That’s not the President’s responsibility. It is OURS. We’ve come to rely far too heavily on Washington DC. Do not put your faith in power. Put your faith in your fellow citizens. Because together, we form one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen.

God bless America.  And God bless all of you.  No matter what.

14938224_10209586858961957_6041040296480857393_n

Jack’s Fight, an Update

paulawalkerbaker

Thursday, I took Jack to the vet for the surgery to rid his body of a cancerous skin tumor. The vet, Dr. Brittain, thought it would be approximately a forty-five minute surgery. As it turned out, it was a little more complicated than that. But, he came through the surgery with flying colors . The incision was quite long , due to the size of the tumor and it looks as if he’s had a tummy tuck.

But, the news is good. No cancer in his lymph nodes and she doesn’t suspect any on the inside. The tumor could grow back, but in the event it does, we’ll catch it when it is small and it will be easier to remove.

Two days after his surgery, he is happy as a lark and last night resumed howling with the coyotes promptly at 11:15 p.m. as is his nightly ritual. He is…

View original post 63 more words