Welcome September!

Okay, yes, I am fully aware that it is still technically August.  But I’ve been ready for autumn ever since my sister and I got home from California the second week of July.  Even as self-proclaimed summer girl, I go crazy for autumn.  I love everything about it from the fall candles, to the changing leaves, to the anticipation of Halloween, to black cats and ghost stories, to pumpkin spice everything… It’s just a magical time of year.  It always has been.  It always will be.

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Welcome, September!  It’s been too long.

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Exciting Times!

paulawalkerbaker

I realize it has been quite a while since my last blog and I am so sorry for that. It’s just that, well, I have been preparing my book, “The Conservative Congregant” for publishing. It goes on sale tomorrow, August 30. I’ve been so excited about this book because it is about the things dear to my heart, namely homeless people and God and blessings and ministry and I could go on and on.

The thing about “The Conservative Congregant” is that it is not just one book. No, siree. It is to be a series. I’m already at work on Book 2- The Dowagers. I want to say that this is not about religion, but about doing the right thing, stepping out of one’s comfort zone to help others and the unexpected blessings that comes from that one selfless act.

“The Conservative Congregant” can be found and bought here

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For Independent Authors

As a human being, I have several shortcomings.  I’m not a very good listener.  I hate taking other people’s advice.  I’m stubborn.  I hold grudges.  I have a hard time taking anything seriously.  And that’s just to name a few.  If there’s one character trait I take pride in, however, it’s that I am very protective of the people that I love.

I’m not going to name names, but yesterday, one of my indie writer friends experienced cruelty concerning her books for the first time.  Now, we’ve all had naysayers and bad reviews and the snobbish “Oh… You didn’t want a REAL publisher?” comments.  But when it’s directed at me, I can handle it.  Yeah, it hurts.  Yes, I’ve cried.  But whatever.  It’s no big deal.

When it’s one of my friends, however, I get angry.  Not so much with bad reviews, because honestly, we all get them.  It’s part of the whole writer thing.  But personally attacking someone, not only for writing what they love and what’s in their hearts, but for doing so independently?  That’s not okay with me.  This person accused my friend of forcing people to buy her books, attacked the content without even having read it, and then went on to belittle those of us who publish independently, all the while singing her own praises in the tech writing industry.  And hey, I think that’s a great career.  We need technical writers and they do excellent work.  But we also need independent authors.

I’ll never understand why independent movie makers and independent songwriters are seen as “cool and edgy and dedicated and so, so, so talented” (which they are) while independent writers continue to fight the stigma of “lousy writers who can’t get signed to a real agent or publisher and are so desperate to get their book out that they do it all by themselves.”  Isn’t that a little… I don’t know… stupid?  True, not every independently published book is a masterpiece, but neither are several traditionally published books (I won’t name any here, but you probably know which ones I’m thinking about).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  The independent authors I know do not publish out of vanity.  We don’t do what we do to get rich or famous.  If that’s all we wanted, trust me, we wouldn’t be writing books.  Independent authors write because it’s what we love.  We love telling stories.  We publish because we feel like those stories deserve to be shared.  Publishing a book by yourself is a LOT of work.  Don’t ever think for one minute that what independent authors do is easy.  It’s not.  But we commit to that work because we truly believe we have something worth sharing.  Trust me, we wouldn’t go through all the trouble otherwise.  It’s not an act of selfishness or pity or desperation.  It’s simply an act of love.

That’s why I have so much respect for my fellow independent authors.  Although this is an incredibly supportive community, we’re the ones who take on these tasks and set out to publish on our own.  We don’t have the advantage of multimillion dollar companies or first rate marketing teams.  We have ourselves and the people we love supporting us.  And you know what?  I’d take that over a fancy corporation any day.

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After Death Soundtrack

As with all my other books before, I have created a playlist, an unofficial soundtrack, of songs that helped inspire After Death, the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series.  We still have a little over a month before After Death is released, but I wanted to share the soundtrack with you today!  It’s been such a fun, lovely week.  I hope everyone else’s has been just as wonderful.

If you’re interested, you can find the soundtrack to the first Cemetery Tours book here.  Between Worlds soundtrack is here.  Please note that this is an unofficial soundtrack. I am not selling these songs or benefiting from them in any way.

After Death:

  1. “She is the Sunlight” by Trading Yesterday
  2. “Heaven’s Gonna Wait” by Hedley
  3. “Clarity” by Amy Conrad
  4. “Welcome to Mystery” by Plain White T’s
  5. “A Drop in the Ocean” by Ron Pope
  6. “Reason Why” by Sleepthief
  7. “Painting Flowers” by All Time Low
  8. “Ghost Machine” by Jon Foreman
  9. “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
  10. “Where’s My Angel” by Metro Station
  11. “The Mixed Tape” by Jack’s Mannequin
  12. “When the Stars Go Blue” by Tyler Hilton
  13. “Still Fighting It” by Ben Folds

That last one by Ben Folds inspired the final scene, which totally makes me cry.  I’m the author, so I might be really biased, but I’m really hoping that everyone enjoys the book as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.  Until next time!

CT BTW AD

Author Interview: Paula Walker Baker

Happy Monday, friends!  It’s the beginning of a new week and I have a special guest on my blog with me this morning!  My dear friend and fellow author, Paula Walker Baker, has a new book coming out next week so I invited her here to talk about it this afternoon!

Paula and I met last year at Camp All Saints, the same camp where I worked for three years and met several of my closest and dearest friends.  It’s a place that has changed my life over and over again and brought the most amazing, wonderful people into my life.  I will forever be grateful for all of my experiences there.  I’m sure there will be many more to come.  Paula is a dear, sweet, wonderful lady and I am so honored to call her my friend.  Please give her a warm welcome!

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Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in Dallas and raised in Richardson, Texas.I went to Arapaho Elementary, West Jr. High and Richardson High School. I lived there until I was 47, then my husband and I moved to Royse City, where we have a little farm. I have three kids- two boys and a girl and four grandsons and one granddaughter.

Your new book, The Conservative Congregant, will be available on August 30.  Can you tell me a little bit about the book?

The Conservative Congregant is about doing something for others. It’s about leaving our comfort zones in order to do something for someone we may not know, we may not love, we may not even like. I believe each time we do that, God blesses us and those around us. Eloise Dowager is a conservative member of the Episcopalian church who likes everything just so. She likes the liturgy the same, the services the same. She abhors change, and is mortified when she hears herself offer to make the Sunday lunch for the City of Hope- the church for the homeless in Downtown Dallas. Doing things for others is not her style, yet, she finds herself being led to do so,

How did you come up with the idea?  

My husband and I attend a church for the “housed” and “unhoused” at Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas. Thanksgiving Square is at Ervay and Pacific Streets. The service is called The Gathering and it meets at one o’clock in the afternoon. Once my husband and I began going, I began to feel change within me and in us as a couple. It seemed the more we loved the people there (who might be deemed “loveless” by some ), the more we were blessed.

How did your own work with the homeless community of Dallas inspire you to write The Conservative Congregant

I felt that the general population should know and understand that “unhoused” folks are not always the stereotypical “lazy,no account” people.They are God’s people . Some are veterans,who fought for our country, some are mentally ill, some have been in jail and are not able to get housing because of that. Jackie, there are a myriad of reasons people are homeless. God didn’t love only the lovely. Jesus loved the unloved as well. He loved the ones no one else would love and that is what we, as Christians are called to do. But, we have to leave our comfort zones most of the time to do this. In writing TCC, I wanted to show people it can be done. One might be stuck in their comfort zone because of something they’ve done in thier lives or they may be scared. I’m writing to say “Don’t be scared.”

What was it like going on this journey with Eloise Dowager?

Eloise is a combination of my mother and myself. Like my mother, she was a staunch believer, She had her particular ways and thoughts about worshipping and that’s the way she thought it should be. Like me, she has unresolved issues of the past that will resolve by attending the City of Hope.

You’ve mentioned that this novella will be the first in a series.  Can you tell us anything about your upcoming stories?

The next book will focus on the Dowager family and the third on Danielle and David Miller. We will learn how they met and the struggles they’ve encountered in their relationship.

Let’s talk about writing.  When did you begin writing?  How did you get into it?

I had a teacher in high school, Mrs. Howard, who sadly passed away a while ago, who made us write in a joural the first twenty minutes of class. We could write anything we wanted to and I talked about loads of different things.  She often commented in my journal and she really inspired me to keep writing. Over the years, I  kept ongoing journals. Sadly, during a manic phase of bipolar, I cleaned out the house and threw everything away. In my thirties, I freelanced for The Williamson County Sun down in Georgetown, Texas. I was not yet medicated for the Bipolar disorder, so my words flowed freely and the articles were pretty good. Once I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and medicated for it, I lost my words and my imaginaton. Since going to theThe Gathering, my words have returned and so has my imagination!

What is your writing routine like?

I have to admit, I don’t really have a routine set. I write for twenty minutes, then get up and do something else, then write for twentyy minutes , do something else. That way, I can get up and walk around, do some chores and think about how I want the story to go.I do not get blocked  that way. I know it sounds weird, but it works for me!

What else inspires you in your writing?

My husband and family are a great source of inspiration. They are like my own cheering squad. Also, I feel like I express myself better in writing than I do orally.

Tell me a little about your children’s book, Jack Learns to Grill

Jack Learns to Grill is a story about a little dingo who loves to learn new things. He is adopted and knows that he was chosen especially by his parents. He is a little bit feisty and tries to keep the peace. He feels if he is not learning and growing, then something is wrong. In this , the first series , Jack learns to grill a healthy dinner with his daddy. He has a great time and has learned quite a bit.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring authors is exactly what Jack would say- never stop learning, never stop growing. Write often, even if you feel like you don’t have anything to say. Practice really pays off.

The Conservative Congregant is available for preorder TODAY!  Order your Kindle copy now and have it delivered to your device on August 30th!  

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Preorder The Conservative Congregant!

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Off Schedule

Those of you who keep up with my blog know that I usually post a few times a week, and I usually publish those posts early afternoon.  My schedule has been a little off this week because I’ve been waking up early to go take care of my god-pup.  Okay, technically, my friend hasn’t actually asked me to be his godmother, but I’ve decided that I am.  As you may or may not know, however, I am a night owl.  My natural bedtime is 3-4 AM.  That doesn’t change when I have to wake up four or five hours later.  This new routine has resulted in midday nap time for me, around the same time I’m usually writing my blog post.  So yeah.  Just thought I’d let y’all know that I am still a live and functional.  I’m just sleeping a lot in the middle of the day to make up for my lack of sleep at night.  I love taking care of Dorian, though.  I haven’t had a puppy since I was 2, so it’s a lot of fun taking him on walks and playing fetch with him.

In book related news, yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the first time I held the first copy of my first book in my hand.

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It’s kind of surreal to think that it’s already been two years since Cemetery Tours became a reality.  In other ways, it feels like it was just yesterday.  Writing books, holding those books in my hand for the first time, or even the second, third, or thousandth, is still such a thrill.  I can’t wait to share the new Cemetery Tours book with you.  I’ll admit, I’m really pushing my time as far as revisions go, but I know it will be beautiful and professional and ready to go on October 6.  I have way too much pride to not let that happen.

All that being said, it’s time to go check on Dorian!  I’ll talk to y’all soon!  Happy Thursday!

Happy Thoughts

Okay, so as y’all may or may not know, I have really weird, really detailed dreams.  Most of my dreams have plots, antagonists, and at times, they cant be stressful, dark, disturbing, or all of the above.  Case in point: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/in-dreams/

And: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/haunted-dreams/

Last night’s dream was probably one of the most disturbing I’ve ever had, and I realized as soon as I woke up that it wasn’t the first time I’d had it.  Or I guess I should say it wasn’t the first time I’d visited that place in my dream.  It’s so strange.  There have been times when my conscious mind can’t remember a dream, but my subconscious dream mind will.  In fact, in my dream last night, the person guiding me through reminded me, “You came here last year, remember?” And I did.

The people in my dream thought I would be interested in visiting this particular building because it was said to be one of the most haunted in the nation.  And it was.  I’m not going to tell you why though.  I could barely get the word out this morning when I called my mom to tell her about it.  I could tell early on that she was horrified that I’d dreamt something so dark, so gruesome, so I didn’t go into detail.  I gave her a one-sentence summary.  But the images and ideas have stayed with me all day.

That being said, I am doing my best today to think happy thoughts.  Like fall!  Pumpkins!  Music!  Parakeets!  Two of my best friends and I are going to be spending Halloween in Houston at the Texas Renaissance Festival, so that’s something fun to look forward to!  We’re going to go shopping for costumes next week.  I’m also puppy sitting for those same two friends this week, so that’s fun.  I haven’t had a puppy since I was two so I’m having a lot of fun with Glorious Dorian as we call him.

There’s not a whole lot new on the book front, except for some awesome new reviews for all three books and lots of new Instagram friends who have been so sweet and supportive in their reviews and pictures!

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Fiesta

After a rather busy weekend, it’s time to get back in the swing of things.  Okay, that’s kind of a lie.  Yesterday, I did nothing.  But the day before actually was busy.  Went to support a few friends at a book signing, then a girls’ night complete with wine and Mario Kart.  See, I actually do have a life!

One of the friends I went out to support, Paula Walker Baker, has a new book coming out at the end of the month!  I’m delighted to announce that I will be interviewing her here on my blog within the next week or so, so stay tuned!  In the mean time, stop by and check out her blog: https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

It’s funny.  I met Paula at my camp, the same place I met three of the most important people in my life.  I know I mention my camp a lot, but honestly, that place and those people changed my life.  And it was all because of one postcard in the mail.  One that my friend Terri, one of those people, sent!  Life is amazing.  It’s so weird to think how different my life would be without them.

Anyway, before I dissolve into a sentimental spiral of destiny and fate, let’s try to steer this blog post back to books.  Books!  Yes!  My favorite things!  Books are awesome!  That’s why I’m writing two at the same time!  That, or I’m just crazy!  It’s probably that second one.

In all seriousness though, if Sam Morneau accidentally turns up in the next Cemetery Tours book, I apologize.

Speaking of Sam and The Kind of September, please remember that my Become a Character Raffle and Giveaway is going on until the end of the month!  https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/becomeacharacter/

Finally, I’ve been promising and promising, well now I’m finally delivering!  Here’s the second Boy Band short story!  Again, it hasn’t been professionally edited because my editors are too busy with the next Cemetery Tours book.  Nevertheless, enjoy!

Fiesta

Being an Adult

As my friends and I get older, I’ve begun to notice a recurring theme in all of our lives: Being an adult sucks.

When we’re kids, we spend so much time dreaming about what life will be like when we grow.  We imagine driving cars, getting married, having our dream jobs, going on new, grown-up adventures.  The thing is, while we were busy dreaming about this fantastic adult world, real adults didn’t bother to mention all the other less fun stuff that comes with age.  Like debt.  Taxes.  Caffeine addiction.  Relationship turmoil.  Responsibility.

Ewww.

The older we get, the more nostalgic we become for our carefree days of youth.  But I’ve been thinking.  It’s true, some of those not-so-great adult things are unfortunately unavoidable.  Most of us will have debt.  We all have to pay taxes.  But I think there’s a misconception about responsibility, and about becoming “real” adults.

For some reason, we all have this idea that once we reach a certain age, once we’re “grown ups,” we have to start living life and behaving a certain way.  We’re supposed to be mature and get real people jobs and get married and have kids.  And none of those are BAD things.  Not at all.  But for some reason, we’ve begun to view them as obligations rather than things that are actually really positive.

If you get a job that you hate just because you have to get a job, you’re not going to be happy.  If you marry someone just for the sake of getting married, you’re probably going to be even less happy than you are with the job.  That’s the problem in our world today.  To live, to get by, just means going through the motions.  When you take a job, make sure it’s something you can be passionate about.  Make it an environment you enjoy, where you thrive.  When you get married, make sure it’s to your best friend, to someone you genuinely want to spend the rest of your life with.  Not someone you’re settling for because you’re at that age when you’re supposed to get married.

Don’t live because you have to.  Live because you want to.

I’m older.  I’m a so-called “real” adult.  Legally, I’ve been an adult for almost ten years now.  But I’ve tried to hold on to the things that brought me joy as a child.  I’ve also found new joy in my adult years.

Here’s the deal.  Do at least one thing a day that makes you happy.  For example, today, I lit a fall-scented candle.  It makes my whole day 150% better.  Listen to your favorite song on repeat just because you can.  Don’t fall into the routine of simply going through the motions.  Enrich your life, even if it’s by simply lighting a candle or eating an extra piece of candy.  It’s okay.  You’re allowed to be happy.  After all, we spend most of our lives as adults.  We might as well make it worth while.

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Review for Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith!

Love this Review of Boy Band! Thank you, Cassandra!

The Bookish Crypt

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*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
“… It’s weird being in love with your best friend. It’s even weirder when the rest of the world is in love with him, too.”
Jacqueline is AMAZING!!!!! This is my third book from her and I just keep loving her writing even more. I am so amazed by her talent. She juggles different genres and pulls them off marvelously!
I fell in love from the first line. Not even five ages in and I was crying from laughing so hard. My laughter was uncontrollable and I blame the characters. They are unique and their humor made me giddy. It was like that for the entire book. It’s so hysterical, I have never laughed so much with any book before it.
Sam and Mel are so adorable and perfect! I love best friend stories like these, and now I love them even…

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