Savoring the Season

The last few weeks of October are going to fly, and I do mean fly.

The rest of this week itself is completely packed with good things: readings, book signings, and a girls trip to the State Fair or Texas.  It just wouldn’t be autumn without the Fair.  It’s one of my absolute favorite fall traditions.

Next week is going to be mostly devoted to preparing for my presentation.  That includes creating the coolest slide show ever and, not to brag, I make a pretty mean slide show.  It’s one of those important life skills you learn in college.

The following week, is the last week of October, and I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready for it.  I know it’s only the 15th, but I feel like Halloween has come too quickly!  It’s one of my absolute favorite times of the year and I need to soak it up!  Thankfully, I’ve had a couple of days that were devoted entirely to anticipating the arrival of All Hallow’s Eve.

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Saturday was a wonderful gray fall day.  It was cold, so I was actually able to wear a scarf and a sweater.  My friend and I spent the day browsing Halloween stuff at Party City, Target, and it ended with a trip to a local pumpkin patch.  It was the perfect fall day.  I need to have more of those before the season ends!

There was a book I read when I was younger, and  I can’t remember which it was to save my life, but there was a quote that really stuck with me.  “If a person lives 100 years, they only get to see the leaves change 100 times.”  That doesn’t seem enough to me.  100 autumns is not nearly enough.  I’m not even sure 1000 would be enough.

That being said, go outside. Enjoy the leaves. Drink a pumpkin latte. Wear a scarf. Watch a scary movie. Enjoy the season, because our autumns, like everything else, are numbered.

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Characterization Exploration

I’m in the middle of writing the first draft of the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.  I’ve come to really love these characters.  I’ve been with them for a while now, and they feel like friends to me.  In the past few years, I’ve probably spent more time with them than with my living, breathing friends.

Characters have always been the absolute most important element of any story for me.  If I don’t like the characters, I’m not going to like the book.  It’s that simple.  I read one book last year (I will not mention it because I don’t want to trash another author’s work on my blog) with such horrible, selfish, whiny characters, I could hardly stand it.  None of the characters had any redeeming qualities whatsoever.  If I succeed at nothing else, I want my characters to be likable.  Well, except for the ones that you’re not supposed to like.  They’re actually a LOT of fun to write, but I digress.

As the first book in the series, Cemetery Tours served as sort of an introductory book.  We met the characters, learned their names, the basics.  Between Worlds delved more into developing relationships and adjustments after the events of the first book.

This third book, however, takes place five months after Between Worlds, and the characters have developed a lot since then.  They’ve had more time to get to know each other and I’ve had more time to get to know them as well.  Now, instead of watching them react to certain situations, I’m exploring what exactly makes them that way.

Of my three main characters, Michael, Kate, and Luke, Michael remains the most stubborn.  Kate and Luke are a lot alike in that they’re both happy characters.  They’re both easily amused and easily fascinated.  Michael is more reserved, which stems from a lifetime of trying to remain unnoticed by ghosts and spirits.  Since he met Kate and Luke, he’s become more outgoing, but those twenty-eight years of hiding within himself I think really took a toll, and I think he’s always going to be a little reserved, and that’s okay.  That’s why Kate likes him, and that’s why I like him.

Last night, I tried to imagine what Michael what be like, what he might have done, if he didn’t have the ghosts.  I realized I feel a little sorry for him, because being surrounded by the spirits and trying at all costs to avoid them and not draw attention to himself really inhibited him from developing a real sense of self.  Unlike Kate and Luke, who have real interests that they discovered by themselves, Michael’s entire character evolved from a desire to be something he’s not.  He didn’t have time for self discovery because he was too obsessed with self denial, if that makes any sense at all.  That’s why I’m glad he has Kate, Brink, and even Luke.  I think they really bring out the best in him.

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Friendly Reminder that you only have ONE WEEK LEFT to enter my GoodReads Giveaway! Win signed copies of BOTH Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds just in time for Halloween!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/109579-between-worlds

Ghost Stories and Research

This isn’t going to be a very long post.  In fact, I’m not sure it even counts as a post at all.  I just wanted to share a picture of my library’s Halloween ghost story display.  As you know, I am quite partial to the ghost story and I love seeing them celebrated!

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I actually went to the library seeking books on ghosts in history and in fiction for a presentation I’m working on.  Conveniently, I found several right there next to the display!  I’m really looking forward to reading them.  I’ve got to be honest, I kind of love doing research.  It’s so interesting, everything that the world has left to teach and discover.  Learning is just fun.

I also totally found Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell in the YA section, so I will probably be signing off here very soon in order to read it.  I love YA and I don’t care what anyone thinks.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone! Go read a ghost story.  Be scared.  Halloween is upon us!

10 Reasons Why Cemetery Tours is the Perfect October Book

Okay, it’s officially October.  It’s definitely one of my favorite months of the year.  In fact, it might be my absolute favorite.  Last year, however, it also became my most marketable month.  That’s right.  As the author of ghost stories, I take full advantage of October and all it’s ghosts and spookiness.  Ergo (my favorite word), I have come up with this little list of reasons why October should be the month that everyone reads Cemetery Tours and/or Between Worlds.

And when I say and/or, I mean please only read Between Worlds if you’ve already read Cemetery Tours.  There are too many spoilers and you will not enjoy it and I will not enjoy you not enjoying it.

So, without further ado or crazy writer rants, I present to you…

10 Reasons Why Cemetery Tours is the Perfect October Book (Featuring Quotes from Amazon Reviews)

1.  It’s fast-paced and a pretty easy read (or so I’ve been told).  October is a month for state fairs and homecomings and celebration.  It’s a fun month.  No one wants to read a long, boring, and depressing novel that requires a lot of thought and concentration during one of the funnest months of the year.

“I still can’t get over how addicted I became to this book just needing the next fix (turn of the page) so I can see what was going to happen next or how everything connected together. ” – Amazon Reviewer Starange13

2.  It’s a great book to read in Starbucks while you drink your favorite seasonal pumpkin spiced latte.  You’ll find that the ghosts and mystery really compliment the October atmosphere.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, the plot and the unexpected ending. I couldn’t stop reading it!” – Paula Walker Baker

3. Come on, it’s a ghost story.  Ghost stories are fun all year round, but especially in October when all the Haunted History specials are on television and you and friends are off adventuring in haunted houses.

“Grabs you by the throat and scares the hell out of you. This well-written story will keep you looking for ghosts for a long time.” – Amazon Reviewer J.C.D.

4. Furthermore, it’s a ghost story for the nonbeliever.  Me?  I’m a believer.  But several of my readers aren’t, and that’s okay.  Cemetery Tours is for everyone!

“If I believed that ghosts existed, then Jacqueline Smith’s portrayal is exactly how I would imagine them to be. Cemetery Tours is filled with a realism that merges seamlessly with the supernatural, and I obsessed over this book until I finished reading it.”  – Amazon Reviewer L

5. Michael Sinclair is the perfect October book boyfriend.  When I wrote Michael, I knew I wanted him to be dreamy, but not in the typical book hero sense.  He’s tall and skinny, a little shy, a little awkward, he has a dry sense of humor, and he loves Kate with all his heart.  Who hasn’t dreamed of a boyfriend like that?

“The hero of the novel, Michael Sinclair, isn’t dreamy, broody, or mysterious, but rather sweet, albeit a little dorky, and truly searching for his identity. Of course, everything about Michael isn’t what meets the eye, and that’s what I absolute adore about him.” – Monica Britten 

“This author has a brilliant future. I loved this story. I loved these characters.
Michael Sinclair is my new book boyfriend (sorry Jamie Fraser). 😉
Thank you Jacqueline for reminding me how much I love ghost stories.” – Kelly Mc “bookworm”

6. The second book, Between Worlds, is actually set in October, and in an old haunted mansion in Maine.

“When the wonderfully  irrepressible Luke enlists the help of Michael, Kate and Gavin for his popular ghost hunter show, they travel out to the gorgeous Stanton hall manor – Loved this location for the creepy and mysterious goings on!” – Amazon Reviewer L

7.  Along with being a ghost and a suspense story, it’s also a love story.  Perfect for those evenings you want to curl up in a blanket, in your favorite pajamas and socks, light a fire, and read.

“Spooky and heartwarming. Is such a thing possible at the same time? Definitely. And Jacqueline Smith nails it! The characters are wonderful and you can’t help but fall in love with them; no matter where they “live.”” – Amazon Customer “irishfaery” 

8.  It’s great for readers of all ages, young teens and adults alike!  Kind of like Scooby Doo, but with real ghosts and not a creeper in a mask.

“Jacqueline has successfully combined ghosts, mystery, and adventure in a book that will make you want to read till the end. The plot thickens and the roads twist in this exciting and captivating mystery.” – Author James W. Peercy

9.  My main female character, Kate, enjoys eating junk food, so you can totally chow down on as much Halloween candy as you want without thinking about how this lame female character in the book you’re reading only likes veggie burgers and tofu.

“Michael is torn in every way shape and form, especially when his star-struck love interest goes off to dinner with Mr.Cool Hand Luke—and I’m with Michael on that one!—not Kate, but ladies and gentleman, I’m here to tell you that there is a lot of unfolding to be done in this here plot and, furthermore, these are people that you are going to want to be hanging around with, believe me! Wish it didn’t have to end so soon. You’ve really got something going there, Ms. Smith. Kate is my fave! C’mon, give it another whirl of the dice! We want more!” – Steve Lund

10.  Both books will (hopefully) keep you guessing right up until the very end, and what is October without a touch of the unknown?

“I developed a couple of theories about how it would end as I read along, but I couldn’t be sure, and it turns out none of them were quite right. The book kept me on my toes the whole time, wondering what would happen next.” – Hannah Alvarez 

Happy October, everyone!

http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tours-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00F7CHQ08/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=17R3ZCF331VM00P8PXNG

http://www.amazon.com/Between-Worlds-Cemetery-Tours-Book-ebook/dp/B00LDZQ1WW/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=19HPBR72ZR1MV89SHTHS

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