Haunted Dreams

I’ve always had incredibly vivd dreams.  My mom always says it’s because of my active writer’s imagination. I guess that’s it, because I know better than to eat anything right before I go to bed.  Some of these dreams are a lot of fun, some are incredibly stressful, and some are just downright creepy.  Last night, I had one of the creepy ones.

It began with a friend of mine (in my dream only.  I don’t actually know this girl.  I don’t even remember her name) telling me that she and her fiancé were going to stay in this old, historic bed and breakfast and that she was terrified.  She said that they’d stayed there before and that she had been terrorized by what she thought was a demon in her room.

Now, it just so happens that in my dream, I was dating Zak Bagans (the lead investigator of Ghost Adventures… Who, you know, I honestly wouldn’t mind dating… He’s kind of hot… Anyway, I’m guessing this was all in my head because I was working on Cemetery Tours 3 last night till like, five in the morning).  Together, we agreed that we would go spend the night in this bed and breakfast to see if we could find out exactly what was going on.

The bed and breakfast itself was really cool and really creepy.  We were staying on the second or third floor, and it had old, fancy burgundy rugs lining the hallway and that overall sensation of a building that has stood for a very long time and has kept more secrets than most of us living can remember. My friend asked if she could spend the night in my room.  Honestly, I didn’t really want her to because I’m really scared of the idea of demonic entities, but I agreed anyway.

I had packed a crucifix, so I made sure to set that on the night stand as we were preparing for bed.  I said a couple of prayers, hoping they would protect the room and keep any unwanted spirits out.  But my friend was still in a panic.  She was convinced that this spirit was going to come for her just as soon as the lights went out.  I tried to comfort her, saying that the building was old, it made a lot of creaking noises, the foundation shifted…  It could very well all be in her mind.  But she wasn’t convinced.

Finally, we turned out the lights and settled into bed.  I was a little nervous, but I kept reminding myself that I grew up in a haunted house (it’s true) and that I’d always been able to sleep just fine.  But then, I heard footsteps walking across the room.  I glanced up and saw the reflection of a man’s silhouette on the television screen.  At first, I really thought it was my friend’s fiancé, so I sat up and looked around and realized that we were still alone.

Freaked out, I ran out into the hallway (yes, I totally abandoned my friend) and looked around for a sign of anyone who could have been the source of those footsteps.  There was no one.  However, as I was standing alone in the hall, some invisible presence rushed up behind me and growled in my ear.  I screamed bloody murder and ran down the hall to Zak’s room (wow, this is beginning to sound an awful lot like a fanfiction).  By the way, I have no idea why he left us girls alone to fight off a demon all by ourselves.  What a terrible boyfriend.

Anyway, I woke him up and told him about what had happened.  He went out into the hall to investigate while I stayed in his room like the scaredy-cat that I totally am.  Meanwhile, my friend joined me and I apologized for leaving her, but we both agreed we were not going back to that room.

Moments later, her fiancé came to get us.  He said that they’d discovered a loose panel in the wall outside of our bedroom.  My friend and I anxiously tip-toed back down the hall to where Zak and he had plied the panel off to reveal an old, dusty, wooden coffin.  It was disgusting and horrific, but I was totally intrigued.  No wonder that room was so haunted.  I told them that we should probably call the police or the manager or something before we went tearing into this creepy wooden box, but of course, no one listened to me.  Even in my own dream, I can’t make people listen to me.

They opened up the box to reveal, not the corpse of a person, but of a mangled, hairy beast, with the body of a jackal and the head of a boar.  I know where that came from.  In The Omen, Damian, the devil’s son, is born from the womb of a jackal.  By that point, I was absolutely done with everything having to do with that bed and breakfast.  I begged them not to mess with the body, to just leave it there and let professionals come in and deal with it, but again, no one listened to me.

The dream ended with the body being destroyed and the four of us hoping that would be the end of it.  But right before I woke up, my friend found a note scribbled on an old piece of parchment.  All the note said was, Don’t you remember me?

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So yeah, that was my dream last night.  Creepy as all hell.  But it left me totally inspired to keep working on Cemetery Tours 3, so that’s a good thing.

In other news, in the midst of editing horse pictures and playing outside, I’ve totally been overlooking all the work I really need to be doing.  For example, I need to revise my short story for the Lurking in the Deep anthology (Cover release on April 2!!!).  I still have an interview with Luke Rainer to write.  I have a friend’s book to edit.  Not to mention, it’s almost April!  Boy Band will be released in less than a month!  In like, 22 days!  I’m so excited!  But I need to get a few more teasers out and get to work formatting the eBooks.  It will all happen.  I just need to get organized.  Make a list.  That’s always my go-to strategy.  Make a to-do list.

That being said, I should probably go get started.  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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Weekend Photo Album

This was an awesome weekend.  As a writer, it’s not often that I find words fall short, but in this instance, I’d rather let my pictures do the talking.

Enjoy!

First, I was honored to be a guest speaker at the Melissa Public Library’s writer’s group!

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Then I celebrated Palm Sunday.

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Then my seeds began to grow!

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Finally, I got to spend a lovely day with two of my best friends and their horses!  It was so wonderful!

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Friday Fun Facts

I feel like I need to be writing some kind of serious blog post, because I feel like there are a million things going on right now, but for the life of me, I can’t pick one topic to focus on.  So I’m just going to make a bit of a list.  In no particular order, here are the things on my mind.

Enjoy.

* Speaking at a writer’s group at a library tomorrow! Yay!

* Need to give myself an at-home makeover: straighten hair, paint nails, the works.

* Also need to listen to more Ed Sheeran. Like, right away.

* Pre-Release copies of Boy Band are on their way and I am SO excited!

* Need to edit short story for Lurking in the Deep.

* PS You are invited to the Lurking in the Deep online release party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1389989944654711/

* Watching Ouija right now. So far, it is a little hokey.

* I can’t believe Zayn left One Direction.  Moment of silence.

* Character Interview featuring Luke Rainer will probably be posted on Monday.

* Going to meet another local author tomorrow afternoon at Barnes and Noble.  Exciting.

* Seriously, though, where can I find a man like Ed Sheeran?  I need to date this guy.

* I read and reviewed friend and fellow author, Jonas Lee’s second book, A Time To Reap.  You can check out his blog here: http://jonasleeblog.com and my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1237989820

* I can’t wait to plant my garden.

* Please remember to enter my GoodReads Giveaway and spread the word! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

* I can’t believe the new Walking Dead spinoff is called Fear the Walking Dead.

*To top it all off, here’s a pretty picture of one of my sunflowers from last year.

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Character Interview: Kate Avery

Continuing on with my character interviews in which my characters interview me, I’d like to welcome Kate Avery to the blog!

If you missed my first interview with Kate’s darling and haunted beau, Michael Sinclair, you can check it out here: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/character-interview-michael-sinclair/

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Jackie Smith (JS):  So Kate, what questions do you have for me?

Kate Avery (KA):  I don’t know.  I’m actually pretty happy with my life.  Although, I am curious.  What’s up with the Color Anomia?  Like, is it actually a real thing?

JS:  Yep.  I looked it up on the internet, and as everyone knows, that means it is definitely a real thing.  However, the site I found said it’s more common in men than in women, but I figured a little artistic license never hurt anyone.

KA:  Interesting.  So, am I gonna have this thing for the rest of my life?

JS:  Yeah.  Sorry.

KA:  That’s okay.  It could be worse.  Though I’ve got to tell you, I am kind of ticked off that you erased all my memories of Europe.

JS:  Again, sorry. But if you wait another book or so, I might make it up to you.

KA:  Is that a spoiler alert?

JS:  Think of it more like a teaser.  Gotta keep readers interested.

KA:  Ah.  Gotcha.  Okay, so tell me more about my background.  Like, why am I the way that I am?

JS:  I really didn’t want you to be a typical damsel in distress heroine, but I also didn’t want you to be the melancholy, special-snowflake girl either.  I wanted you to be a bit of a silly fangirl, but also someone who is strong and independent.  I hope I succeeded.

KA:  I like to think you did.  Those are all good things.

JS:  Thank you.  You’re much more appreciative than your boyfriend.

KA:  Yeah.  He’s really sweet most of the time, but he can also be a bit of a smart aleck.  He’s got a really dry sense of humor.

JS:  I know.  I thought I liked that about him.

KA:  So, can you tell me anything about what’s in store for us in the next book?

JS:  It’s going to be a bit different from the first two books.  It’s less of an adventure and more of what it’s like for the two of you living day-to-day as a couple that is constantly surrounded by ghosts.

KA:  But it’s not going to be boring, right?

JS:  I hope not.

KA:  Well, if it starts going stale, you could always throw in some zombies or aliens.  You could write a new character that looks like Norman Reedus.

JS:  I think you and I have both been watching too much Walking Dead on Netflix.

KA:  Yeah, probably.  But what else have I got to do while you take your time getting this next book out?

JS:  Touche.

Grow For Me

After the success of my sunflower garden last year, I’ve decided to expand my garden.  This year, along with sunflowers, I’ve also decided to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, and milkweed (AKA butterfly weed).  Tonight, I plotted my tomatoes and bell peppers because they need to grow inside before they’re transplanted outside.

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I’m particularly excited about the butterfly weed.  Monarch butterflies are very close to being put on the endangered list.  I love monarchs and want to do all I can to help them and raise awareness.  I’m hoping my butterfly weed is successful in attracting and feeding and nursing them and I encourage others to do the same!  They’re not seeds you’ll typically find at your neighborhood grocery store, so I ordered 5000 seeds off of Amazon.

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I begin planting these seeds outside within the next few weeks.  It’s still a little cool and early in the season.

Happy gardening!

Character Interview: Michael Sinclair

Back when I first started writing, to get to know my characters, I would interview them.  I’d make up questions, kind of like a survey, and I’d write out responses as those characters.  This is kind of the same idea, except I thought I’d give my characters a chance to interview me for a change.  Up first, the serie’s underdog hero and reluctant medium, Michael Sinclair.

Note: This shouldn’t contain too many spoilers, but if it does, I apologize.

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Michael Sinclair (MS):  This is kind of weird.

Jackie Smith (JS):  Yeah, I know. Just go with it.

MS:  Okay. Well, I guess I’d have to start this interview off by asking… Why me?

JS:  What do you mean?

MS:  Why won’t you let me catch a break?  Why do you like to torture me?

JS:  I don’t torture you.  You’ve actually got it pretty good compared to a lot of fictional guys out there.

MS:  I see ghosts, I can’t find a job, I get kidnapped, I get tortured, my girlfriend is always ending up in the hospital…  Why can’t you write a book about me where I win the lottery or I take a romantic, ghost-free getaway with Kate to a tropical island?

JS:  Because you don’t play the lottery and neither of you could afford that. Neither could I, for that mat ter.

MS:  Am I ever going to find another job?  Let’s face it, I’m not going to be able to pay rent much longer.

JS:  I have an idea for you.  I think Luke is really going to like it.

MS:  Oh, great. Of course Luke is going to like it.  You like him so much better than me.

JS:  Not true.  If I did, then he would have ended up with Kate.

MS:  Okay then, here’s a real question.  How come I can see ghosts?

JS:  It was a story I always wanted to write, especially after I experienced a loss myself.  I didn’t really know how to characterize you, however, until I started watching Criminal Minds and discovered Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer Reid.  You know that’s who you’re based off of, right?

MS:  Yeah, you remind me all the time.  I think you like him better than me, too.

JS:  Wait a minute, I thought you were supposed to be this super sweet, nerd of my dreams kind of guy. Where is all this sass coming from?

MS:  Don’t ask me.  You wrote me like this.  Speaking of which, did you mean to make me so two-dimensional or is that just part of the protagonist’s curse?

JS:  Why do you think you’re two-dimensional?  You’re not two-dimensional.

MS:  All anyone knows about me is that I see ghosts and I feel sorry for myself.  A lot.  Why didn’t you give me more depth?

JS:  I totally gave you depth.  Your problem is that once you discovered you were the only one seeing these spirits, your entire life began to revolve around making sure no one else figured it out.  It didn’t give you a whole lot of room to branch out, and for that, I’m sorry.

MS:  So, while you were thinking up ways to ruin my life, you never thought to maybe make my power a little more, oh, I don’t know, cool?

JS:  What does that mean?

MS:  I mean, you read all these books and watch these TV shows about mediums who can not only see dead people, but predict the future, time travel, read minds, all that stuff.  How come I can’t do that?  How come I only get the ghosts?

JS:  Because all of that would make these books a lot more complicated.

MS:  Oh, okay.  As long as it makes everything easier for you.

JS:  Seriously, are you always this snarky when I write you?  I thought I gave you a pretty good life.  Cool ghost best friend, cute girlfriend, and at least you’re not like Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.  You don’t see hanging people or kids with their brains blown out.

MS:  I guess I should be thanking you for that.

JS:  You’re welcome.

MS:  I’m still not particularly thrilled with you, though.

JS:  Yeah, I’m sensing that.

MS:  So tell me, are good things ever going to happen to me?

JS:  You are far too melodramatic, you know that?  And I’m not going to tell you if good things will happen or not.  You know I can’t make you any promises.  But if it all works out the way I think it will…  You’ll just have to wait and see.

Busy, Busy

Hi, friends!  After a fun-filled spring break with my sister, it is time to start focusing on upcoming events and impending publications!

I’m speaking at a writer’s club meeting at a library next Saturday, which I’m really looking forward to.  Since I’ve been on a bit of a graphic design kick lately, I decided to make some new bookmarks to give away.

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I’m also busy trying to redesign Boy Band’s book cover and get the whole thing edited and revised so that it’s ready for it’s pre-release at the North Texas Book Festival.  I’m so excited!  It’s going to be amazing.

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I’m also finally able to give a bit more information about Lurking in the Deep, the new anthology that my short story, The Water’s Edge, will be featured in.  The anthology is being published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing on May 7!  A lot of the authors being featured have been designing promo pictures.  I took a shot, but I’m not sure mine are as good as theirs.

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Along with promotion, there will also be a bit of editing there too.

*Note* It also turns out I need to edit these pictures I made!  The anthology is coming out on May 7, not May 5!

I also have a few ideas for blog posts and pictures for Cemetery Tours that I need to start working on.  I guess the whole point of this is that if I complain about being bored at any point in the next two months, feel free to assume I’m lying.  There is always something that can be done.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Boy Band Soundtrack.

I’ve had a few people ask if I’m going to be compiling a list of songs that helped to inspire Boy Band.  I did this with both Cemetery Tours (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/soundtrack/) and Between Worlds (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/between-worlds-soundtrack/).  Music is such a huge part of this book and, let’s be honest, it’s primary influence, so I pretty much had to have a soundtrack!

Yes, most of these are boy band songs. What did you expect?

Note: I do not own any of these songs, nor am I profiting from them in any way.  They’re just the songs I listened to while I was writing.

1. “Steal My Girl” by One Direction

2. “Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z and Alicia Keys

3. “Because You Live” by Jesse McCartney

4. “Pop” by *NSYNC

5. “What Makes You Different” by the Backstreet Boys

6. “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney

7. “A Minute Without You” by Hanson

8. “Don’t Let Me Go” by Harry Styles

9. “Tee Shirt” by Birdy

10. “18” by One Direction

11. “Right Where You Want Me” by Jesse McCartney

12. “Umbrella” by Train

13. “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys

Boy Band will be available April 21, 2015!  Please enter to win one of five signed copies on GoodReads!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

Thanks, y’all!

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Boy Band: The First Copy!

Just a quick update: The first copy of Boy Band is here!

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Sadly, no, it’s not at Barnes and Noble (though it will be online soon), but it is the dream, isn’t it?

There are still a few revisions to be made and a few adjustments to make to the cover, but it is always so exciting to hold a new book in your hand for the first time, and I am so very excited for this one.  It began as a simply #NaNoWriMo project, one I wasn’t even sure that I would finish.  Five months later, here it is!  Life is pretty neat.

Boy Band will be available on Nook, Kindle, Amazon.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com on April 21!

Enter to win 1 of 5 signed copies at GoodReads.com: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

Much love, everyone!