Haunted Valentines

It’s almost Valentines Day.  Even if you don’t have someone special, it’s still a great holiday.  Well, maybe it’s not that great, but there is a LOT of chocolate, and I’m a big fan of chocolate.

Unfortunately, very few people, if any, associate Valentines Day with ghost stories.  Unless, of course, you’re a Ghost Adventures fan and recall that one Valentines Day episode at the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  That’s one of my favorite episodes, not because that capture any spectacular evidence, but because it’s hilarious.

Anyway, all last week, I was trying to come up with some way to connect Valentines Day and Cemetery Tours.  This is what I came up with.  Yes, this is just for fun.  No, I don’t think I’m clever.

Enjoy!

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Shameless Self-Promotion Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-E.-Smith/e/B00F7BPXX6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1423510266&sr=8-1

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/jacqueline-e.-smith

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7260466.Jacqueline_E_Smith

My Voices

Last night, I had a chat with the rational voice that lives inside my head.  I think she was surprised.  You see, I don’t consult her very often, mostly because she’s usually wrong.  How weird is that?  The voice that’s supposed to think clearly and look at all the facts is the one that usually ends up getting me in trouble or leading me to believe in something that simply isn’t true.  I guess she’s optimistic that way.  That, or she’s just not very smart.  At least she tries.

As writers, we constantly live with different worlds inside or minds.  It would only make sense, then, that there are several sides of all of us that contribute to these worlds.  I guess my problem is that I’ve never known which of these sides of myself is my true side, or which one I should be giving the most attention.

First of all, we’ll start with the Writer.  She’s the one that drives me.  She’s the one that’s won out after twenty-seven years of competing with all my other selves.  She often knows what I want to say before I know it myself.  She also gives my characters words and actions that I didn’t know I had in me.  I kind of love it when characters come to life like that and act in ways that I hadn’t planned.  Unfortunately, the Writer in me also sees everyday life, not as real life, but as a story being acted out.  She gives every person their own plot, their own motives, their own inner dialogues.  When life doesn’t work out like a storybook, it confuses her.  More often than not, however, it comes as a relief.  A lot of stories have tragedies.  No part of me likes tragedies.

Then we have the Outdoorsman.  This is the part of me that loves being outside and hiking and kayaking and getting dirty.  She loves nature and wants nothing more than to live in a cabin by the lake and become one with the trees.  She doesn’t care for the hustle and bustle of city life and more often than not, she dreams of simply running away and being free.  She also might be kind of a hippie.

The Photographer and the Outdoorsman go hand in hand, but unlike the Outdoorsman, the Photographer likes all kinds of settings, city life included.  She dreams of visiting places like New York and Colorado and Alaska and London.  In fact, she’ll go just about anywhere as long as there’s something cool to photograph, and trust me, she can always find something.  She loves seeing things and she loves capturing moments.  She also loves taking those moments and making them entirely her own.

Then there’s the Beachcomber.  This side of me wants nothing more than to be by the ocean 24/7.  She loves everything about the ocean, from the reflection of sunlight on its surface to the countless creatures that call it home.  She would give just about anything to be by the water constantly.

Next, there’s the Genealogist.  Technically, I guess she’s not so much of a genealogist as she is a wannabe historian, but for whatever reason, she’s obsessed with my family history.  She’s in love, not only with Scotland, but the idea of all of her homelands.  She has a huge desire to explore those historic lands where my ancestors once lived.

Those voices or sides or pieces of self are all well and good, but there are other voices, like the Neurotic Overreacter, that I could do without.  See, she’s the one that tries to convince me that I need to be worried about everything all the time.  Thankfully, she’s not the most prominent voice in the bunch, but she’s still there, and every once in a while, she manages to push her way through the rest of the voices and remind me that she’s still there.  And boy, do I hate her.  I guess I still need her, because in a way, she does contribute to ideas for stories, but as far as my life goes, I would love it if she just stayed the hell away.  She’s a control freak, she’s very demanding, and she bums me out.  A lot.

That’s where my Rational voice comes in.  She’s supposed to keep the Neurotic Overreacter in check, but she doesn’t do a very good job.  She’s kind of timid and doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself, whereas N.O. is convinced that she’s right ALL the time.  It’s like, impossible to argue with her because she is SO convinced that she’s right.  My Rational voice tries really hard, I think, but she’s more often lost over the shrill chatter of all the other voices.

There are several other voices that I haven’t touched on: the Good Girl, the Ravenclaw, the Rebel, etc…  But I think you get the point.  The road to self-awareness is a long one, and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully get there.  I think there will always be something new to learn about yourself and how you fit into the world around you.  Sometimes, your inclinations contradict themselves.  I’m just trying to get by and find my place, and to live in a way that leaves me few regrets.  It’s difficult, but I think I’m learning.

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Feeling a Little Overwhelmed

paulawalkerbaker

This week, I received 100 followers on WordPress. Thank you all so much for reading my little epistles. I don’t always have much to  say, but I declare my right to say it all the same! So, thank you for choosing to read my thoughts.

Starting last week, I began the process of publishing my children’s book, “Jack Learns to Grill.”  I am a bit overwhelmed by it all, but my good friend and author Jackie Smith, has helped me every step of the way. I can’t say how grateful I am to her.

Jack books official illustration1

Anyway, Jack of “Jack Learns.. ” books is a real live dingo that I adopted a few years ago. He is a curious, animated dog who is smart and has the warmest heart and the funniest expressions. His hero status in the “Jack Learns…” books is merited by his empathy for those less fortunate than…

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Indie Author Interview

Huge thank you to my friend and fellow author, Melissa Zaroski (author of the amazing Davenport Manor series – if you like vampires and romance, I highly recommend her books) for featuring me on her blog!

http://davenportmanor.net/indie-author-interview-jacqueline-smith/

You can find Melissa on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255267.Melissa_Zaroski

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/melissazaroski

And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavenportManor

https://www.facebook.com/MelissaZaroski

Blogger’s Block

We all know about writer’s block.  We all experience.  I even wrote a blog post about it. https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/the-block/

Today, I’m not suffering from writer’s block, but I do find myself with a mild case of blogger’s block.  I can’t think of a single thing to write about.  I even read a list of 135 blog post ideas that are supposed to make your blog hot.  Still, no inspiration.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

Perhaps it has to do with where I am in the new Cemetery Tours book.  I’m trying to write this particular scene to be creepy, chilling, you know, the kind that comes to life when you read it.  But I think I’m trying too hard.  I’m forcing the words instead of letting them come naturally, and as I’ve learned over the years, it’s never a good idea to force anything.  Granted, I do believe there is a fine line between forcing something and taking a chance, and sometimes it’s difficult to know the difference.  But I’m getting off-track.

I just need to clear my mind and keep writing.  Unfortunately, my mind always has like, a million things going on at once.  It will never actually be clear.  The good news is a lot of the stuff going on up there is rather exciting.

That being said, I’m going to go write.  Peace out, all.

Spa Days and Seven Facts

This weekend, I had my very fist spa experience.  It was a friend’s birthday and so a group of us went to celebrate with her.  I had no idea what to expect, but my friend told me that there was an indoor swimming pool with a bar.  Sold.  It’s like, I don’t even care what else this spa has to offer me.

As it turned out, when you get to the spa, you are given a uniform that you’re supposed to wear while you’re there.  It was actually really comfortable, despite being a rather unflattering shade of orange. But since we were heading straight for the pools, we just wore our bathing suits.

The pools were awesome, full of jets and streams and illuminated this amazing shade of turquoise that made me feel like I was in a fantasy novel.  There was also an indoor water slide, which is meant for kids, but when you’ve got five twenty-somethings who, you know, enjoy the finer things in life (like bars in indoor swimming pools), you’ve got to ride the water slide.  That’s just all there is to it.

There are still lessons to be learned, however, even when you are in your mid-late twenties.  For example, stranger danger is still totally a thing.  Don’t talk to strangers.  Just don’t do it.  Especially in a spa where there’s alcohol.  Also, don’t leave your new boyfriend alone with your best friends.  That’s one my friend Kit Kat learned the hard way.  While she and the birthday girl went off to get pampered, she left her boyfriend alone with me and our friend, Roxanne.  We basically gave him what was probably the longest girl talk of his life.  We told him all about our bad dating experiences in the past and gave him a run down of what not to do.  I’m not sure if he was amused or scared.  Probably a little of both.  He seems like a cool guy though, so he probably wasn’t too scarred for life.  He also has his own LED lighting business!  Check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/enviraldesign

After we finally left the pools (after about six hours), we went to the sauna.  Apparently, people go into the saunas to relax, but we’re a pretty social group and we like to talk.  I would therefore like to issue a formal apology to everyone in the saunas whom we disturbed with our chatter.  I’m sorry.  I hope we didn’t ruin your evening.

All in all, my first spa experience was a pretty positive one.

The next day, I went on a Downtown adventure to the Dallas World Aquarium and Spaghetti Warehouse with a friend I’ve met only recently, but who is lot of fun and very easy to talk to.  It was a great day.  Very uncharacteristically, however, I forgot my camera at home!  I did get this shot of Downtown Dallas on my iPhone, however…

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Finally, I was tagged in a Facebook post asking me to list seven things that people may not know about me.  I was tagged by my author friends Ben Ditmars (https://benjaminditmars.wordpress.com) and Melissa Zaroski (http://davenportmanor.net).  I’m kind of an open book, so I’m not sure if there’s a whole lot that people don’t know about me, but I’ll give it a go.

1.  When I was little, I was afraid of band-aids.

2.  I hate talking on the telephone.

3.  When I first learned to ride a bicycle, my dad promised me two doughnuts if I rode around the block without crashing my bike. I did. But I never saw those two doughnuts.

4.  I enjoy playing chess.  I’m not good at it, but I have fun. I’m not a competitive person at all.

5.  I own 11 square feet of land in Scotland.

6.  I’m an enabler.

7.  My favorite necklace is one that my grandmother gave me. She called me into her room one night when I was about five or six and told me to reach into a bag she was holding.  Anything I pulled out, she said, was mine.  I pulled out the necklace.  To this day, it is my most treasured possession.

If you’re reading this, I tag you!

Exploring

Last week, one of my best friends and I drove up to Texoma to meet another of our best friends and her husband for a hike.  It was lovely.

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We also stumbled upon an abandoned oil field. One of my goals for 2015 was to partake in more urban exploration.  I wanted to explore at least three run-down or abandoned places, but my real goal was to visit at least one a month.  I really thought January was going to pass me by, but the New Years Resolution Gods seem to be smiling down on me.

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All Photographs Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2015