This Is Halloween!

Halloween is finally here!  Since I have so much I need to be doing before the witching hour begins, this shall be a very short post.

I did want to let everyone know that in honor of Halloween, aka one of my absolute favorite holidays of all time, BOTH Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds are available on Kindle for $0.99!!!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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It’s Okay to be Single

A lot of books, movies, and stages shows have one thing in common: Romance.  It either ends happily with the lovers together or not so happily with someone walking away or maybe even dying.  Either way, being with the person you love is one of the driving factors in plots all throughout media and history. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for romance in books and movies.  I love reading it and I really love writing it.  Michael and Kate, hello!  In real life, however, I am happily single.  And to a lot of people, that’s weird.

I recently read an article encouraging young people (even younger than me) to take the plunge, get married, and have kids in their twenties.  That’s worked for a lot of my friends.  Several of them married very young and most are still happily married.  Although I’ve always wanted to be married and have kids eventually, it’s never been my main goal in life.  For guys, that’s okay, but for some reason, it’s strange for a girl to feel that way. I can’t count the times I’ve been asked about my love life before anything else.  It’s never “Have you seen any cool new places” or “Learned anything new and interesting?” It’s “So are you dating anyone yet?”

No.  No I’m not.  And that’s okay.

Even as a little kid, I was very driven and career-oriented.  Back then, I wanted to work with marine mammals (and I still do) and I spent every waking minute I had researching whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds.  As soon as I realized that my true calling was writing, I sat down and began working on ideas for novels.

Yeah, I’ve dated.  I even had one serious boyfriend when I was 20, but unlike the rest of my friends who were itching to earn their M.R.S., the idea of marriage terrified me to the point that I actually broke down in tears at the thought of walking down the aisle. Granted, I wasn’t with the right person and now that I’m older, the idea doesn’t make me cry anymore, which is a good thing.  But I’m still in no hurry.  I have so many other things that I want to experience.  Yes, I could experience them with a husband, but there’s something so liberating, so wonderful, about being independent.  I like making my own decisions and I like being able to act selfishly.  Perhaps that’s not a good thing to boast.  After all, one of the major criticisms for single people with no children is that we are selfish.  But I’ve always kind of thought that our twenties are the time to be selfish, to learn and explore, to travel, to set the foundation for our lives.  For some of us, husband and kids are a huge part of that.  For others, we’re happy going it alone. And again, that’s okay.

The world is changing.  Women no longer have to marry for financial or societal reasons.  We have the privilege of being able to settle down and marry when we want and who we want.  Again, I do want marriage and a family… eventually.  But right now, I’m happy by myself.  I’m happy to travel.  I’m happy to be able to do what I want, when I want.  I’m happy to hang out with my sister and single friends just as much as I am happy to hang out with my married friends.  And I’m happy to write.  God, I am so happy to write.

Right now, my main priority is getting more books out there and, if my dreams come true, to maybe because a NYTimes Bestselling Author by the time I’m 30.  That’s my real dream right now.  If a guy comes along before then, then awesome!  If not, that’s okay too. If you’re like me, don’t let anyone pressure you into anything before you’re ready.

I’ve been asked so many times when I’m getting married and when I’m giving my parents some grandkids to spoil.  The answer is “I have no idea.  For now, they’re just going to have to be happy with grand-books.”

On that note, please join me tonight at 8:30 Eastern (7:30 Central) for The Truth in Lies One Year Anniversary Celebration! Several authors (including me!) will be answering questions and posting giveaways all afternoon long!  In fact, I think it’s already begun!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1481550198784895/?ref_notif_type=plan_mall_activity&source=1

#NaNoWriMo

Alright, people.  The last few days of October are upon us.  That means binge-watching Halloween movies, making those last minute costume adjustments, and counting down the minutes until all the candy goes on sale.

For writers, however, it also means that we are a mere 36 hours away from National Novel Writing Month.

I’ll be honest with you.  I never really understood the idea of scampering to write a novel in 30 days.  I thought, if it’s meant to happen, it will.  Like relationships, you can’t push your craft.  For a lot of us, National Novel Writing Month is every month.  However, not every month has it’s own movement, own website, own army, really, of writers willing to take the plunge and risk it all.

Before, I really didn’t like the idea of being timed.  I didn’t like the idea of following a trend (I’m kind of a rebel like that).  I don’t like anything to be forced.  I really like doing my own thing, dancing to my own beat, and not being pressured or influenced.  But the more I thought about it this year and the more people I talked to, the more I thought, hey, this actually sounds like a lot of fun.  I’d also recently had an idea for a YA novel that I would probably be putting off forever had I not been talked into NaNoWriMo.

I’ve got to tell you, I am super stoked to be participating this year.  It gives me something to talk about with friends and it gives me a brand new community to be a part of!  All of us are offering each other encouragement and I just love that.  I will say, however, that I am not telling a soul my super secret pen name.  I have a number of reasons for this.

First, I’m afraid of failure.  I think everyone is on some level, but I’m so afraid of it that I usually don’t even tell people I’m attempting something until I know it’s not going to fail.  For example, I didn’t tell anyone that I actually know (apart from family and very close friends) that I’d written Cemetery Tours until a few weeks before it was released!  No one knew that I’d been working on a book for over a year.  Everyone was shocked, because usually I’m a huge blabbermouth.  I like to share and tell people things.  Of course I do!  I’m a writer!  But this is another one of those unsure projects, and if I fail, I don’t want anyone to know.

Secondly, the book I’m writing is Young Adult and let me tell you, it is not a ghost story.  It’s not even a little scary.  It’s pure fluff.  I’m pretty sure if a lot of my readers (heck, a lot of my friends) knew what I was writing, they’d roll their eyes and go, “Seriously!?  Are you kidding me?!”  My school would probably demand my Master’s degree back.  It is that silly.  But I’m kind of loving it. It’s pure guilty pleasure.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this November?  Sound off in the comments section!

In other news, Cemetery Tours 3 is still moving right along.  I still don’t know when I’ll have a release date for it, but I’m really enjoying writing it.  I really hope readers enjoy it as much as the first two.  Again, it’s different, but I think it’s a good different.

Speaking of Cemetery Tours, I’m going to be participating in a friend’s book release anniversary celebration.  There will be giveaways and Q&As and lots of other cool stuff!  You should check it out here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1481550198784895/?sid_reminder=8758610241320386560

Finally, and I can’t believe I forgot to share this with y’all earlier, but I wanted to let you know that MY SISTER is going to be performing in Lubbock’s Moonlight Musical’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS!  She’s one of 8 Tech students asked to participate in the production.  It’s a HUGE honor for her.  She got to sign a contract and everything.

The production features mostly professional and equity actors including Ken Page (the ORIGINAL Old Deuteronomy on Broadway and the DVD and the voice of the antagonist in The Nightmare Before Christmas whose name I don’t know) and a little YouTube star named Todrick Hall.  I am so jealous that she gets to work with these amazing and awesome actors, but I’m hoping that since I’m family, maybe I can get a picture with them!  Anyway, I am so, so, so, SO proud of her and I can’t wait to see the show!  Here’s an article about it: http://lubbockonline.com/entertainment/2014-10-15/moonlight-musicals-production-cats-using-more-professionals#.VFB_QUJRHzI  

My New Business Know-How

Lately, I’ve become addicted to a new television show.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you, this is not a new thing for me.  I have a very addictive personality.  Not that people get addicted to me, but that I get hooked on things very easily.  I guess that might be a side effect of a creative mind or something.  I don’t know.

Anyway, one of the reasons I actually don’t watch that much television is because I become so engrossed in the characters or the storyline that it kind of takes over my life.

This new show is different.  It’s nonfiction.  There’s no plot and the characters are all real people.  Technically, they’re billionaires and entrepreneurs.  That’s right.  I’m talking about Shark Tank.

If you’ve never seen it, it’s a show where people who own their own business or products go and pitch their ideas before a panel of billionaire investors (Mark Cuban, Daymond John, etc…) and if the “sharks” like their idea or business, they’ll invest and become partners.

When my family first told me about the show, I thought, “How boring! Why would I want to watch that?”

But I did watch it… And I love it.  It’s not boring at all.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s fascinating.

For one thing, I love seeing what these everyday entrepreneurs can do.  Some of them have created some incredibly amazing products and businesses all from scratch!  They start up their own businesses in their garages, or sit for hours at a time crafting their products.  These are real and incredible creative minds at work and I admire them (well, most of them) so much!  I love that the show promotes and supports small businesses and these people who have poured their blood, sweat, hearts, and tears into their products.  They’re all following their dreams and that’s so awesome to me.

The sharks are awesome as well.  They know business up and down, left to right, and I am learning so much from them.  I am not a natural business person.  I have a creative mind, I’m pretty good with people, but business is a foreign affair to me.  My dad, on the other hand, is an excellent business brain and usually, I rely on him for any of the business savvy stuff.  After a few weeks of watching Shark Tank, however, I’m learning more and more and finding myself capable of identifying good deals, not so good deals, and even capable of figuring out what an entrepreneur is estimating their company is worth.

For example, if an entrepreneur comes in seeking a $100,000 investment in exchange for 20% of the company, they are estimating their company’s value at $500,000.

Boom.

The sharks also offer excellent business advice, not only for the entrepreneurs, but for anyone watching at home who has started or is thinking of starting their own business.  For example, you need to be willing to work hard, sacrifice, eat Ramen (I’ve got that one covered), and remember that there are people out there who are working against you.  Now, in the indie author community, I don’t really think that applies.  Yes, we are all working toward the same goal, selling books, but we’re all one big team.  We support each other and it works for our advantage because we’re all telling different stories.  We’re not competing with one another and I love that.  Still, the sharks offer a lot of encouragement and good advice.  They’ve been there and succeeded!  And I really do think they genuinely enjoy helping these new entrepreneurs.

Well, Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, is really just in it for the money.  But he’s a shark.  What do you expect?

Between Worlds

Thank you for another AMAZING review, Lindsay!

History and Mystery

Between Worlds

by Jacqueline E. Smith

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Someone always dies… Someone is always left behind…

Now that his secret is out, Michael Sinclair finally agrees to join paranormal superstar Luke Rainer and the Cemetery Tours crew on an investigation. Not just any investigation. The biggest investigation of their career.

Once home to the wealthy Sterling Hall and his beloved wife, Joanna, Stanton Hall Manor in Maine is famous for the love story that inspired it… and the ghosts who now inhabit it. For Luke and the crew, Stanton Hall is a dream come true.

Unfortunately, some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

I was starting to get a little burned out on the Halloween novels; I mean, look how many I have reviewed in the last month!  But I told Jackie that I would read Between Worlds, the second novel in her Cemetery Tours series, and provide a review this week.  Boy, am I…

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Cemetery Tours and Haunted Houses

After my presentation on Ghost Story Trivia at the Colony Public Library, I was invited along on a history tour of the Colony.  We visited an old cemetery (which, of course, I loved) and The Spencer House, which I am convinced is haunted.  I wanted to share some of the pictures I took here with you!

From the Cemetery:

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From the Spencer House:

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And a few that I photoshopped for the sake of my autumn expectations.

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Finally, I have to share my spooky experience from the trip.

At the cemetery, most of the graves are centered off in one general area of the yard.  However, I couldn’t help but notice this one tree off to the side, and the grey bricks that lay beneath it.  At first, I dismissed it, thinking it was probably nothing very interesting.  Still, I couldn’t help but feel that I needed to go over and see what it was.

When I arrived at the tree, I found that the bricks were actually broken fragments of a small grave marker. There were only three letters carved into the stone. J.E.S. My initials.

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Such an Amazing Weekend!

Oh wow… where do I start?

I’ve got to be honest, I might share more than one blog update today because I’m not sure that everything will fit in one post!

I guess I’ll start with Wednesday evening.  I had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting Kathleen Kent, NY Times best-selling author of The Heretic’s Daughter and The Outcasts.  She was such a friendly and lovely person, very personable.

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I also took her a copy of Cemetery Tours, which, I admit may have been a bit presumptuous of me, but she was so sweet and excited about it.

The next day, I was delighted to be a guest at the Melissa Book Club.  They were lovely ladies and I had such a wonderful time!  I love going to book clubs.  It’s so much fun meeting and connecting with people who love books as much as I do.

On Friday, I was finally, for the first time in my life, talked into signing up for NaNoWriMo.  Originally, I had been led to believe that people just write books during the month of November.  I honestly had no idea it was this entire website and community that you join!  How cool is that?!  Anyway, I signed up under a super secret pen name A) just in case it doesn’t work out and B) because the project I’ll be working on is YA and SO COMPLETELY different from Cemetery Tours and I want to keep my reputation as a spooky ghost story writer for at least a little while longer.  I’ve got to tell you though, I am SUPER STOKED to be participating this year.  I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!  I even designed my own cover for the book.

Saturday, was one of the most exciting days of my career thus far.  I was asked to give a short presentation on ghost stories at the Colony Public Library!

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I decided that no one wanted to listen to me talk at them, so I decided to engage the audience in a little Ghost Story Trivia!  I think everyone really enjoyed it.

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There was a bucket of fun prizes.

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And consolation prizes.

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This is me, looking dumb while talking.

I also had the honor of meeting and listening to a presentation on Ghost Towns by non-fiction author, Robin Cole-Jett.  Her photographs and experiences in these abandoned places are so fascinating that she’s inspired me to delve more into urban exploration.  You can find her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-River-Historian/195104580538409?ref=hl

Afterward, I went on an amazing history tour of the Colony, but I’ll tell you more about that in my next post.  I have a lot of pictures and one totally creepy story to share!

Before I get to that blog post, however, I wanted to share Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s AMAZING review of Between Worldshttp://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2014/10/worlds-jacqueline-e-smith.html

I highly recommend Kimba for anyone looking for an honest, thorough, reliable, and all around awesome reviewer!  You can find her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/kimbathecaffeinatedbookreviewer

Seriously, folks.  She’s awesome.

Throw Back Thursday: 8th Grade Concussion

So, I was thinking about how everyone posts #TBT pictures online and I thought, hey, bloggers could do that too!  Tell a quick short story from their past!  It makes for a blog post, a little different than usual, and it’s a chance to share a little more about yourself and maybe make for a fun story.  Not that having a concussion is fun.  It’s not.

Here’s what happened.

I went to a small combined middle/high school.  In six grades, there were about 300 kids.  All six years, I played the flute in band.  I was a HUGE band geek.

In 8th grade, band just happened to be the same hour as PE, so we got our own PE hour.  It was kind of awesome.  We made up games and basically got to do whatever we wanted.  One day, we decided that we were going to play tag.

Now I don’t like tag for a number of reasons.  I don’t like running.  I don’t like being chased.  I don’t like having to chase other people.  I don’t at all like the concept of being “it.”  But I agreed to play nevertheless.

Long story short, I ended up tripping over my friend’s shoe and hurtling into the steps of the bleachers.  I remember tripping and I remember falling.  I don’t remember hitting.  After falling, the next thing I knew was that everything was dark and everyone’s voices sounded really far away.

Shortly thereafter, after I’d gotten up and my glasses were back on my face (they’d flown off… fortunately they didn’t break), my friends helped me back to the locker room.  I thought I was okay, but then, my vision erupted into these weird fuzzy grey specks.  It freaked me out so one of my teachers escorted me to the nurse.

I thought I was getting better at the time, but as it turned out, the nurse couldn’t understand what I was saying.  She called my mom and told her I had hit my head running into the “picture.” When my mom arrived to pick me up, she said I looked dazed and that my eyes were completely glazed over.

She drove me immediately to the doctor’s office, where I was escorted to a back room.  It was only then that I realized how incredibly nauseated I felt.  I have no idea why head injuries cause nausea, but I was miserable.

The doctor sent me home with instructions for my mom to check on me throughout the night, just in case.  By that point, I was feeling better, but I still had to take it easy.

The next morning, I was shocked to wake up and discover the entire right side of my face was purple, and I do mean purple.  Even my eye was bruised which, if you’ve never experienced it, is really gross and really weird.  Years later, I discovered I actually have a scar on my eyeball from the impact.  But it looked like I’d taken a purple marker and just colored over the entire right side of my face.  It was like a Phantom of the Opera bruise mask.  I wish I’d taken a picture of it, because it looked pretty bad-a.

So yeah, that’s my Throw Back Thursday concussion story.  What’s your TBT?

A little help for Jonas Lee

mylittlebookblog

Hi readers, a slightly different post today but it comes from a serious starting point. Jonas Lee is a dear blogging and writing friend of mine and I’m currently reading and reviewing his book ‘A Time To Reap,’ so it came as a little bit of a surprise to see that Jonas had already written the sequel however money is tight and getting the book finished and published is a bit difficult so Jonas has set up a crowdfunding page to get the ball rolling! I wanted to help out as much as possible so I devised a little Q+A to let you see what the books are about and show you the page if you would like to help out a lovely and very talented author!

1) So give us a brief overview of the books?

A Time to Reap is the beginning story of Carter Gabel, a teenager…

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To-Do List

I’ve said it before and I will say it over and over and over again.  If you are an independent anything, you never have nothing to do.  There is always something.  If you’re an indie author, you can always be writing, promoting, reading, reviewing, what have you.  My sister, who is a sophomore music major is busier and has more school work than I did in grad school.  It’s intense.  The arts are no joke.

That being said, even though I actually got a lot done yesterday (yay me!), the To-Do List just keeps on growing.  It never ends, people.  I’m not kidding.

1) Finish Presentation

2) Read/Review

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3) Book Club Meeting Tomorrow Night

4) Meeting with Author Whose Book I’m Reading/Reviewing Tonight

5) Write Write Write

6) Send Winners of GoodReads Giveaway Their Books

7) Write Some More

8) Try Not To Get Sick Before Presentation on Saturday

That last one is fairly recent, as I feel like I’m beginning to lose my voice.  Hopefully, it’s just allergies and not some weird upper-respiratory thing.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!