Monday Musings

Hi, friends!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Mine was very relaxing, yet still somehow kind of productive.  I say “kind of” because I never feel like I’m as productive as I want to be/need to be/could be.  But you know, for a couple of days where I’m housesitting two houses, taking care of two cats with medical needs, and writing two books, three different short stories, and designing book covers, it could have been a lot worse.  OF course, just because I feel like I kind of did stuff over the weekend doesn’t mean I can take a break or even slow down.  There is always something that can be done.

For example…

1) Reading and reviewing.  I have several books on my to-read list, and several of those I hope to review as they are written by fellow indie authors.  I finally got to review Heir to the Sun by Jennifer Allis Provost yesterday: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1290975139?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

2) Tidying up.  I am a slob, okay?  Total and complete slob.  I like to think that when I own my future beach house, I’ll keep it nice, but to be totally honest, I probably won’t.  Still, as much as I hate cleaning, I usually do feel a lot better afterward.  So who knows?  Maybe I’ll take the plunge.

3) Designing book covers.  I’m not sure if I’ve told y’all this, but I am redesigning the Cemetery Tours series’ book covers.  I plan on re-releasing the first two with the new covers at the same time as After Death on October 6.  I’ve been playing around with design ideas and having a lot of fun with it.  For those wondering why, I still absolutely love the covers as they are now.  They’re beautiful and captivating and people really like them.  But they aren’t my images.  The photographs on the covers of those books are stock photos.  I’d really like to make the books fully my own, and that means using my own images.  As the release date draws closer, I’ll be sharing the image designs and ideas to get your opinion.  The ones I’m leaning toward right now are actually really pretty, but they still need a bit of work.

4) Working on short stories, not only for submission into anthologies, but for Boy Band!  I feel bad for leaving the story on such a cliffhanger, and to apologize for making my readers wait until December to find out what happens, I’ll be publishing a few free short stories here on my blog until December rolls around!  No spoilers at all.  They’re most stories of what took place before the first book.  Just for fun.

5) Preparing for my sister’s and my trip to California NEXT WEEK!  What?! How did that sneak up on us so quickly?!  I’m not at all ready!  But at the same time… I am SO ready!

What does your Monday have in store?

The Liebster Award Challenge

Thank you so much for the nomination! I’m honored! 🙂

Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

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A big thank-you to KL Caley @ New2Writing for nominating me for the Liebster Award Challenge! This honor gives bloggers the opportunity to share more about themselves and then to “pay it forward” to other bloggers whose sites they enjoy. This version of the Liebster doesn’t seem to have a restriction on the number of followers for eligible nominees (whereas the Liebster Award received here did), so everyone is game this time around. 😉

Here are the rules for this version of the Liebster Award Challenge:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.
  4. Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

So, let’s start with KL’s questions!

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Sugary-Sherburts – Book 3 Teaser #kidslit

My friend and fellow author, Heather Ellis, is releasing the third installment in her children’s book series, The Sugary-Sherburts!

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Gosh – Hi everyone!

I have been off for WordPress for a little while. I wanted to let everyone know that I have just finished writing my very first draft of The Sugary-Sherburts — BOOK 3! If you have never read my other books, they are kidslit and I wrote my first one when I was 10.

I haven’t written a book in a while though, and I know that the most difficult bit is next, proof reading and editing, then getting the pictures organised. Its very exciting though?!

Here is a video I made for it

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#LoveWins

Unless you’ve spent the day away from television, radio, internet, smart phones, and friends with access to those things, you probably know by now that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that gay marriage is now legal in all fifty states!  What should never have been an issue in the first place is finally resolved and I believe, wholeheartedly, that the US made the right decision.  Several of my closest friends are gay and I am just thrilled that they can finally LEGALLY marry the person that they love.  I can’t wait to attend and perhaps even participate in their weddings and celebrate their marriages.

That being said, I wanted to do something fun to celebrate this victory, not only for my country, but for so many of my friends.  That’s why my newest book (and love story!) Boy Band, is on sale for only $0.99 on Kindle!

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No, it’s not an LGBT romance, but it’s still happy and fun and colorful, just as our lives and loves should be.

http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Band-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00WFSE0Z6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Today was a good day, friends. Love you all.

Signing at Half-Price Books!

Hi, friends!

I’ve not been very good at updating recently. Lots of fun stuff going on including beta-reading, hanging out with friends, writing of course, and my first solo signing event at Half-Prince Books!

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I had a wonderful time, met some new amazing people, and best of all, I had so many friends and family members come out to see me.

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This is Cali, a new friend. It turned out she’d seen Boy Band on Tumblr! How cool is that? Also, please excuse my flushed cheeks and stringy hair. It was very, very hot.  One thing they don’t tell you about becoming an independent author is how much manual labor is involved.

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My gorgeous, amazing, wondering mom, who has gone above and beyond everything to support me (and my sister) no matter what.

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So many of my favorite friends!

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Friend and fellow author Jeanne Skartsiarsis (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeanne-Skartsiaris-Author/309154242555980?fref=ts).

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Wild and crazy cousins.  I love these girls.  They’re so weird.

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Finally, my former high school English teacher, writing mentor, and Shakespeare enthusiast, Steven Lund!  I was so thrilled he came out to the signing!  He also has a book out (that taught me everything I know about grammar!): http://lovinggrammar.com.

Not pictured but no less appreciated are author James William Peercy (http://www.jameswilliampeercy.com) and his lovely wife, Claudette, and author Paula Walker Baker (https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com).

Thank you all for your constant love and support.  You all mean the world to me.

Now, onto the next adventure: After Death, the Third Installment in the Cemetery Tours series! I am having so much fun writing this book.  I can’t wait to share it with y’all.

Cemetery Tours 3: Official Release Date and Title Reveal

Hi, friends!  This is going to be a short post because it’s late and I still have a lot to do tonight, but I wanted to OFFICIALLY announce that the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series, AFTER DEATH, will be available on Kindle and in paperback on OCTOBER 6!

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A Few Photos

So, I had a long-winded post planned out about the new Princess Diaries movie and why Michael Moscovitz needs to return and sweep Mia off her feet and marry her because he is her one true love and Chris Pine, while very, very hot, is simply not in the books.  Anyone who’s read the books knows that Mia belongs with the dreamy, intelligent, witty, medical entrepreneur that is Michael Moscovitz.  Mia and anyone else, even someone as aesthetically pleasing as Chris Pine, is just wrong.

But I’m feeling a bit lazy on a Friday night, so instead I’ll leave my argument at that and instead, share some new pictures I took yesterday at a nature reserve.

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I also found a baby grasshopper and spider in my sunflower garden.

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Words, Words, Words

I remember in one of my grad school writing classes, one of the guest speakers told us, “One of the most difficult things that you will ever do as a writer is scrap and entire novel and start from scratch.  And you will do it.”  I’m here to tell you today it’s actually not that bad.

Is it time-consuming?  Yes.

Is it a hard decision to make?  Somewhat.

Is it worth it?  Oh my goodness, yes.

I got to the seventeenth chapter of the new Cemetery Tours before I was finally able to admit that I wasn’t happy with it.  I tried to deny it for a while, tried to convince myself that I could write through it.  But the story was going around in circles.  It was all discussion and no action.  Worst of all, the plot was very thin and barely there.  I knew I needed to change something or else there was no way it would measure up to the first two.

Making the decision to completely rewrite has been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made.  I’m SO much happier with the story now.  It’s less convoluted and far more interesting.  It’s holding my attention better, which is a necessity.  If you can’t get into your own story, then you know you’ve got a problem.  Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes it is really hard to acknowledge that you’ve got seventeen chapters of nothing, but in the long run, it was the best thing I could have done for my stories, for my characters, and for my readers.  I want to give them the best books that I can.  I would never publish a book that I was even a little unsure of.  I have to believe in a book.  I have to love it.  I have to know it’s my best work.  Otherwise, there’s no way I’m putting it out there for others to read.  My first novel will never, ever see the light of day because it is just so bad.

Speaking of first novels, I’m currently in the process of beta-reading my friend Paula Walker Baker’s first novel!  I’m so, so, so excited for her and so impressed by how much she’s accomplished and how far she’s come in the year that I’ve known her.  This lady is going places and nothing is going to stop her!

https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

That being said, I’m off to go read the rest of her book.  Goodnight, all!

Double Feature at the Drive-In

Last night, one of my lifelong dreams came true.  I finally got to see a movie at the drive-in!  And wouldn’t you know it, it turned out to be a double feature!  Two movies for six bucks?  Why doesn’t everyone go to the drive-in all the time?

Well, bugs and rain and really disgusting food, but I’ll get to that later.

All in all, my first experience at the drive-in was super amazingly fun.  I went with a group of my best friends, we set out a blanket, watched the sunset, and laughed about the disgusting food that I ordered.

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As you all may know, sometimes when I go see movies, I like to write reviews.  Not like, actual reviews because I don’t have that kind of depth or patience.  But my own personal thoughts about the movie.  For example: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/double-movie-day/.

Before I talk about the movies, however, I want to tell you a little more about the drive-in itself.

It is so cool, y’all.  It’s like taking a step back through time.  It’s also set in a wide open field under the stars.  I love being outside, so this was was totally my ideal setting.

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After we parked and set up our blankets, we headed over to the refreshment stand.  I hadn’t eaten dinner, so I ordered a hot dog and some fries.

Big.  Mistake.

The fries were fine but that hot dog?  I’m fairly certain it was just cooked Play Dough.  I’m not kidding you.  It was a weird neon fuchsia color and it felt like plastic.  It also had these weird cooked plastic blisters on it (gross, I know), and when we broke it apart to see what it looked like inside, it was white.  I’m telling you, no part of that hot dog used to be alive.  I have no idea what kind of “mystery meat” nastiness it was, but it was not a real animal.  Needless to say, as someone with a near-crippling phobia of being sick to my stomach, I tossed that plastic piece of grossness into the grass.  I knew I’d made the right decision when even the ants left it alone.

Long story short, if I had eaten it, I’d probably be dead.

Unlike their fake animal byproducts, however, their popcorn was high quality.  Good thing, too, because I ended up not having dinner.

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The experience itself of watching a movie outside is, altogether, awesome.  True, our speakers didn’t work and we had to use the car’s radio, but that’s what you usually do at the drive-in anyway.  Aside from that minor hiccup, I loved sitting out under the sunset, enjoying the summer breeze, and watching movies with my friends. It was simply magical.

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Now.  For the good part.  The movies themselves.

The first movie featured was Disney’s Tomorrowland.  This was not a movie I had planned on seeing.  But since it was Disney and it was a double feature and I was with friends who wanted to see it, I was happy to give it a shot.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but to be totally honest with you, I’m still not entirely sure what it was about.

So, in the spirit of previous movie reviews, here are my thoughts on Tomorrowland in no particular order.

*WARNING*

THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS.  PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Thoughts on Tomorrowland

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* Yay Disney! I love Disney!

* For some reason, seeing George Clooney in a kids’ movie is really awkward.

* This is not the World’s Fair.  This is Disney World.  Do not even try to pretend.

* OMG IT’S HUGH LAURIE. HUGH I LOVE YOU. HOUSE!

* Creepy little girl. Is she a vampire? I bet she’s a vampire.

* The It’s a Small World ride. Come on, Disney. You know you’re not fooling anyone.

* I’d be SO mad if some chick I barely knew tricked me into going to a future filled with scary robots.  I don’t like robots.

* I love this flying sequence.  I wish I could fly.

* I’m still not entirely sure when this movie is supposed to be set.

* Casey, I don’t know why, but I really don’t care about what you’re trying to do.

* Okay, I recognize this whole cornfield sequence from the commercials. It’s pretty much the only scene I kind of understand.

* Is anyone’s little brother actually that smart?  Especially at that age?  What is this kid, five?

* Creepy vampire girl is back.

* The lady in this Disney-Is-Totally-Rubbing-The-Fact-That-They-Own-Star-Wars-Now-In-Our-Faces store is dressed like an odd combination of Princess Leia and Ms. Frizzle.  I’m confused.

* I bet she and her husband smoke a lot of pot.

* Oh no they don’t!  They’re robots!

* This movie is doing very bad things for my robot phobia.

* Are people out on the street not noticing all these explosions?

* OMG the creepy little girl is a robot too!  I knew she was something weird.

* Bathroom break. Also need popcorn since hot dog turned out to not be actual food.

* Casey has managed to break into George Clooney’s house and I’m very afraid there will be some weird I-Used-To-Have-A-Crush-On-You-When-We-Were-Kids-Even-Though-You’re-A-Robot tension between him and the creepy vampire robot girl.

* Eiffel Tower is actually a rocket.  Okay.

* I love how absolutely no one is freaking out about this.  They’re all just taking pictures of it on their iPhones.  If it were me, I’d probably be peeing my pants or something.

* Yay Hugh Laurie is back!  I love him and his sexy accent and Mr. Fine Wine good looks.  Although I’m fairly certain he’s the bad guy and I’m not supposed to like him.

* Actually no, I take that back.  I think the real antagonist here is the human condition.  See, I can be deep too.

* Spacey, sci-fi, robot stuff. Not really holding my attention.  Going to check social media.

* Hugh Laurie giving speech in his sexy accent about how we need to save butterflies and bees. I approve. Yet somehow, he’s still the bad guy. I can tell because his outfit is just too badass for a protagonist.

* More spacey sci-fi stuff.  Disney is really milking the Star Wars thing for all it’s worth.

* Beach?  I like beaches.  Let’s stay on the beach.  Also, why are there so few trees in the future?  See, this is why I’d never want to live there.  I like trees.

* HUGH LAURIE NO!  Why is it always your leg?!

* I KNEW IT!  George Clooney and that creepy robot girl are having a moment!  This is so awkward!

* Robot girl turned out to be a bomb.  This is kind of disturbing.

* Reunion Tower just crushed Hugh Laurie.  Very sad.  He was the only character I really connected with.

* I think I just watched a very long infomercial for innovation.  That’s not a bad thing.  I’m a big fan of creativity and thinking outside the box.  But still.

So yeah, that was Tomorrowland in a nutshell.  It was okay.  Probably not one I’ll watch again.  Robots just aren’t my thing.  I much prefer dinosaurs.  Which is why I was super stoked to see the next movie in the double feature…

JURASSIC WORLD!

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been itching to see the long-awaited fourth installment in the Jurassic Park saga.  I absolutely love the first movie.  I’ve seen it at least a thousand times and can quote it like nobody’s business.  The second and third?  Eh, they’re okay.  But I was expecting big things for this fourth movie.  For the most part, it did not disappoint.  I only say that because as good as it was, nothing can live up to the first one.  It puts forth a decent effort, however.

Again.  Spoilers.  You have been warmed.

Thoughts on Jurassic World

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* Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs.  Bring me dinosaurs!

* I didn’t know Judy Greer was in this movie.

* Ah, her kid is such a little NERD. Look at all his dinosaurs and space stuff. So cute.

* Older kid pouting because he has to leave his girlfriend for a WHOLE weekend to go see dinosaurs. Wow Zach, your life sucks.  Poor you.

* Though to be honest, if I were their mother, I would not let my kids go to an island full of dinosaurs alone.  I probably wouldn’t let them go period.

* Return to Jurassic Park sequence + Original Score = All the Chills

* BD WONG.  HENRY.  OMG.  YOU STILL WORK HERE.  BLESS YOUR LITTLE HEART.  THIS JUST MADE MY WHOLE DAY.

* Bryce Dallas Howard is their aunt?  That’s so cool.  I like her.  Especially because this isn’t the first movie where she and Judy Greer have played sisters.  M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village anyone?

* Her character in this movie, however, seems like kind of a flake.

* Oh yeah, there he is.  Chris Pratt.  Hello, handsome.  I’ve heard good things about you.

* OMG he’s training the velociraptors!  WHY is that cute?!  Are raptors supposed to be cute?  Or is just because he’s their trainer?!

* I want a trained velociraptor.

* Evil guy who wants to use the dinosaurs for warfare.  I bet you’re gonna die.

* That raptor trying to get at the dweeby guy through the bars. Is that Blue?  Or Delta?  Or maybe Charlie?

* Is it weird that the raptors remind me of my cat?

* NO I DON’T WANT A TRAINED VELOCIRAPTOR I WANT A BABY BRACHIOSAURUS THAT IS THE CUTEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN OMG.

* Dumb kids ditching their babysitter.  You’re gonna get eaten.

* Dinosaur eats a shark.  Where’d they get the shark?

* Super genetically enhanced hybrid T-Rex.  There is no way this will end badly.

* Oh hello hunky Chris Pratt at your rugged, outdoorsman bungalow.  I like that rugged, outdoorsman shirt you’re wearing.

* Bryce Dallas Howard, no! Don’t make him change! Why would you do that?

* Oh look at that.  Your mutant escaped.  #Fail

* And now your dumb nephews are out there all alone with the escaped mutant. #DoubleFail

* Jimmy Fallon is in this movie? LOL

* I guess they’re still “sparing no expense.”

* Guys go out to try to control this escaped super dinoaur and of course, they all die.  Honestly, who would sign up for this job?!  Does it come with really awesome benefits that you never get to use because you don’t live long enough to actually take advantage of them?

* I hope BD Wong doesn’t die.  He’s the voice of Captain Shang in Mulan.  And Howard Weinstein.

* Children.  No.  Do not go off-road in a park full of dinosaurs.  Especially after you KNOW that something has gone wrong and all the rides are supposed to be shut down.  Are you stupid?  You must be stupid.

* I kind of hope the older one gets eaten.  He’s too stupid to survive on this island.  Survival of the fittest.

* He probably won’t though.  Hollywood and all that.

* Mutant dinosaur with lots of teeth.  There is no way they will survive this encounter.  And yet, they do.

* No!  No, don’t let that sweet brachiosaurus die!  No, this is too sad!  I don’t like this.  😥

* That mutant dinosaur is a douchebag.

* Kids find the old Jurassic Park.  The Dinosaurs of the World sign.  The piano music in the background.  I feel like this movie is designed to feed on our generation’s nostalgia.  And it’s working.

* Good thing this movie also has a genius little brother who somehow knows how to fix a car that stopped working at least ten years before he was born.

* Pterodactyls on the loose. Do they eat people?

* Somehow, I feel like this is all those kids’ faults.  I don’t know why.  I just blame them.

* It turns out yes, Pterodactyls do eat people.  At least the big ones anyway.

* Hold up.  Does that Pterodactyl have a Tyrannosaurus head?  What the heck is that?!  Is that another mutant? Are they cross-breeding now?

* Oops.  There goes the babysitter.

* Dumb kids finally reuniting with their hella lucky aunt who just got to make out with Chris Pratt. 

* Tech guy, you’d do better with the ladies if you shaved off that creepy mustache.

Note: Throughout all of this, it started raining so we retreated back to the cars.  I was alone with my friend and her boyfriend.  They were in the front seats so I sat in the back, but I’m too tall and couldn’t see the movie from the backseat.  So I sat down on the floor in between the back seat and front seat.  Oddly enough, it’s a lot more comfortable than you’d think it’d be.  I couldn’t help but wonder how weird it must have looked though.  At first glance, it looks like two cute people on a date.  Then, after a second glance, you see this third person’s head creeping down in the shadows, just peaking out in between them.  That’s how I felt. 

* Chris Pratt is the Velociraptor’s Alpha.  That’s hot.

* Thanks to this movie, I will settle for nothing less than a man who can ride a motorcycle and herd velociraptors.

* I might be single for a while.

* YOU KILLED CHRIS PRATT’S BABY RAPTOR IN FRONT OF HIM.  NO.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

* I don’t like this movie!  It’s sad!

* Bryce Dallas Howard lighting up a flair and getting the T-Rex to chase her, I can accept.  But Bryce Dallas Howard lighting up a flair and getting the T-Rex to chase her in those heels?  I’m sorry, this movie is far too unrealistic.

* YOU KILLED DELTA HOW COULD YOU.

* STOP LETTING CHRIS PRATT’S BABIES DIE. WHAT IS THIS.

* It’s the ultimate T-Rex showdown.  I also like how the T-Rex and Blue the Raptor seem to have a mutual respect and understanding that they have to work together to kill the mutant.

* HA!  The giant water dinosaur saved the day!  That was awesome!

* Okay, now that mutant is dead, there’s still the whole issue of having a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Velociraptor loose in the park.  I feel like you just solved one problem by creating another.

* Oh.  The T-Rex and Raptor have achieved a higher sense of understanding and go back home on their own.  That’s convenient.

* You know, I still don’t understand why any of these people think that dinosaurs are a good idea.  Except the baby brachiosaurus.  That is the best idea in the history of ever.

* And the movie ends, as usual, with T-Rex lording over her territory.

All in all, good movie.  I will definitely see it again.  Not as good as the first by any means, but you know, what is?  That movie is a classic, a cinematic masterpiece.  Nothing will ever live up to it.  But this movie comes awfully close.

#BecomeACharacter

Yesterday as I was driving home from the grocery store, I found myself, as I often do, thinking about my next books.  The next Boy Band is going to be a LOT of fun and I can’t wait to really get started on it.  There are going to be new characters, new songs, and a whole lot of new drama.  That being said, I want this book to be special to my readers.  I want ALL my books to be special to my readers, but the first Boy Band has done so well that I really wanted to find a way to make this one as much my readers’ as it is mine.  Thus the #BecomeACharacter Raffle was born.

Here’s the deal.  I want YOU to become a character in the sequel to Boy Band.  There are three names available.

1) A friend of the band from high school.

2) A singer in the guys’ opening band.

3) A full length song titled your name (I.E. “Diana” by One Direction or “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White Ts).

Of course, these don’t have to be your names.  You can name these characters for someone you love or make up a name (Nothing silly though, please.  I will not name my character Macaroni.  I don’t think this will happen, but still, I feel it needs to be said).  These three winners will also receive personalized signed copies of the first Boy Band.

How do you enter?  It’s quite easy!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5d8f214e1/

The site also made me write out some Terms and Conditions, so this is what I came up with.

1. Please be a real human being. Please do not be a robot.

2. If you win, please be willing to provide your email address so that I may contact you about where to send your book.

3. There are three names up for grabs in the sequel to Boy Band: A new friend of the guys’ from high school, a singer in The Kind of September’s opening act, and a full length song written about . If you win this raffle, you get to submit a name (either yours or one of your choosing… You can name characters for friends if you’d like!).

4. Please help spread the word! If you’d like to read the first book before entering, it is available on Nook, Kindle, Amazon.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com! Reviews are appreciated, but not required for entry into this raffle.  🙂

5. Winners will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.

6. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Twitter (@JackieSmith114), here, or at info@WindTrailPublishing.com.

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So there you have it!  I think this will be a fun things, and it’s open all summer!  I think it ends the last day of August.  Have a good Monday, y’all!  I’m off to see some dinosaurs.