Busy Busy Busy

As an indie author, I’ve found that there are two kinds of busy.  There’s the kind that all indie authors are all the time.  The kind that is not very active, but it is constant.  Indie authors always have something that they can be doing.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that we always do what we’re supposed to do (I personally spend way too much time on Pinterest…), but there is always something there.

Then there is the active kind of busy.  That’s the knd where we actually have engagements lined up, specific things to be working on, to be honest, it’s kind of like being back in college.  Those weeks are a lot of fun, but they don’t occur as often.  This is going to be one of those weeks, and I am so, so, so excited about it.

Friday and Saturday, I’m participating in an event I attended last year as a fan, not as an author.  It’s called IndieVengeance Day and you can read all about it here: http://indievengeanceday.com

I’m really excited about the two-day event, but before I can get to it, I still have a lot to do.

I was lucky enough to have been asked to read through my friend Jeanne Skartsiaris’ new book, Snow Globe.  I’ve been going through and making notes (I’m going to write a small blurb for her! Neat!), but I really need to finish that up.

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You can find Jeanne on GoodReads here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7425985.Jeanne_Skartsiaris

I’ve also mentioned before that I was asked to give a presentation on ghost stories at the Colony Public Library on October 25.  I was so honored and excited to be asked, and I’ve been putting a lot of thought and research into figuring out exactly what I want that presentation to be.  Well, around 5 AM on Saturday morning, it finally came to me.  I am so excited about this presentation.  It’s going to be awesome.  Now that I know what I want to do, it’s time to buckle down and get to work on that as well.  I’ll tell you more about it after I actually give it.  I want it to be a surprise!

So yeah, lots of good, fun things are happening.  Cemetery Tours has been selling really well this month.  I have a lot of people signing up for my GoodReads giveaway.  Speaking of, don’t forget to enter! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/109579-between-worlds

And of course, on top of all of that, I’m still hard at work on my two current WIPs.  Cemetery Tours 3 is a lot of fun.  It’s a little more complex and complicated than the first two, but it’s also very colorful and I think it’s going to be good.  It better be good, or I’ll have to keep rewriting it until it is!  My goal is to release BOTH books in 2015.  That will mean a lot more hard work, but it’s so completely worth it.

I hope y’all have a splendid Monday!

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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

Cemetery Tours Front EVALUATION COPY01

Ode to Fangirl

This won’t be a proper ode because, let’s face it, I don’t have a poetic bone in my body, but Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell deserves nothing less than a Shakespearean sonnet.

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I’ve been wanting to read this book from the moment I first heard about it, coincidentally, here on WordPress.  I knew I would love it.  I just didn’t know how much.

This book, to me, was a love letter, not only to writers (I loved Professor Piper and the way she put writing fiction into perspective) but to anyone who has ever loved a book series so much that those places and characters, in fact, become real to them, in some instances, more real than real life.

(https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/i-believe-in-dragons/)

Simon Snow is the Harry Potter of the Fangirl universe and the book included several passages from the books and fanfiction written by the protagonist, Cath.  I’ve got to be honest, if they were real, I would read those books in a heartbeat.  They sound awesome.  I found myself reading, not only to keep up with what was happening with Cath, her twin sister, and her potential love interest, but also to find out how the Simon Snow saga would end!

In the book, Cath and her twin sister, Wren, become immersed in the Simon Snow fandom after their mother walks out on their family.  For them, Simon Snow was an escape, a refuge.  It is revealed that Cath loves the fandom so much because for a moment, her reality stops.  She doesn’t have to live there.  I’ve never had something so horrible as a parent walking out happen to me, but my family did struggle financially for years.  I won’t go into it (I’ve already written it all down in the blog entry I posted above) except to say it made our home life miserable.

That’s where Harry Potter comes in.  Hogwarts became my own personal form of escape.  Instead of living in the horrible real world where our problems dictated our lives, I sought sanctuary in the world of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  While I was there, none of my stupid problems could touch me, because they didn’t exist.  Like Cath, I began reading and writing fanfiction (though I was not nearly as dedicated as she is), which eventually led to writing stories of my own.  I don’t list JK Rowling as one of my writing influences because I can’t even begin to compare myself to her, but the truth is, she’s the one who started it all.  I have other writing idols, but JK is the Queen.  We all know this.

Near the end of the book (I don’t think this is really a spoiler, but if you don’t want to read it, skip over this paragraph), Cath and Wren and a few of their friends attend the midnight release of the last Simon Snow book.  I’m not going to lie to you, but I got tears in my eyes.  The entire time I was reading, I was reliving my own time spent waiting for each of the Harry Potter books to be released.  It was real magic.  That moment the boxes come out, the moment they’re opened, the moment the first one is sold and everyone cheers.  If you’ve felt it, you know what it’s like.  These books, these characters, are so special and have such an impact on our lives.  That’s why I love writing and reading so much.  In some ways, it’s the only world I really know.

I’ve wondered my whole life when I would find my true place in the world.  It sounds so melodramatic and cliche, I know, but it’s something we all wonder.  I see people all around me who seem to know.  Some are meant for the world of business, others for law, some for medicine.  Artists, the writers and painters and sculptors and actors and musicians, I’ve come to believe, have no specific place in the world.  That’s why we feel compelled to create our own.  By doing so, I like to think we make the world a little bigger, give it a little something new each and every day.  And maybe, if we’re lucky, someone else will find a part of themselves in our creations.

The Second Annual Cemetery Tours Halloween Giveaway

Tis the Season to be Spooky!

In honor of Halloween, I’ve decided to do another giveaway!  This year, I am giving away two signed copies of BOTH of my books, Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds.  To enter, please visit GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/109579-between-worlds

You can sign up to enter until October 21!  I’m ending it then in the hopes that the two winners will receive their books by Halloween.

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Let the festivities begin!

New Story, New Characters

I’ve mentioned before that I currently have two WIPs or Works in Progress.  One is the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.  This work includes familiar characters, ones that I know and love and are still evolving and growing, mystery, twists and turns (some of which have surprised even me), and of course, ghosts.  I love writing ghost stories.  Even when we were little, my sister would ask me to make up scary stories for her.  We were twisted little kids.

I am loving that I get to continue the story of Michael, Kate, Luke, and everyone’s favorite, Brink, and I really love the new ghosts and the new adventures.

However, as much as I love Cemetery Tours, I have to say the new story/series I’m working on is so much fun.  A whole new setting (one that is really, really awesome and I kind of wish I lived there), brand new characters, and no dead people.  Again, I love my ghost stories, but I’m also loving how this new story is so much more light-hearted and not nearly as dark.  Not that Cemetery Tours is all that dark.  Still, there is the whole matter of death and loss and whatnot.  You won’t find much of that in this new series.

The new book is also more YA than Cemetery Tours and in 1st person instead of 3rd person.  In some ways, that presents new challenges, but in other ways, it’s a lot easier.  It’s more like dialogue, which has always been my favorite part of writing any story.

At this point, I’m farther along in this new book than I am in CT3.  I’m not going to lie, it’s been difficult writing two books at once, and it’s crossed my mind more than once that maybe I should focus wholeheartedly, 100% on just one of them.  But I’m enjoying writing both, and I’m making progress, so I think I’m just going to keep after it and see where it leads me.  I’ve been operating under the assumption that I’ll publish CT3 before this new one… but you never know!

On that note, keep writing and keep reading, everyone!

Happy Birthday Cemetery Tours!

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It’s been exactly one year since I first published Cemetery Tours, so I thought I’d take a little time to celebrate the book, the characters, and the readers that have come to mean the world to me.  I was a junior in college the first time I seriously considered writing a book.  This year has far exceeded anything and everything that I could have imagined in that moment and I have all of you to thank for that!

So now, for a little bit of fun, please enjoy…

The Unofficial Cemetery Tours Soundtrack: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/soundtrack/

My Dream Cast: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/dream-cast/ 

Cemetery Tours on Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/windtrailpub/cemetery-tours/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18470430-cemetery-tours

Fun Facts and Trivia:

The only character who did not undergo a drastic name/personality change throughout the entire four years of developing and writing the story is Brink.

Luke Rainer was originally a character in a different story.  He was going to be the main love interest.

The Bible verse quoted in Chapter 19, Phillipians 4: 6-7, was my class’s senior verse in high school.

I use the British spelling “woah” as opposed to “whoa” throughout this entire book. I think I’ve spent too much time reading Harry Potter because I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

Kate and Gavin’s parents, Terri and Rex, are named after my mom’s best friend and her husband, both of whom passed away while I was in high school.

I despise female characters who don’t eat anything except salads and veggie burgers, so I make a point in every book to show Kate eating pizza or fast food or chocolate.

My dad came up with the title Cemetery Tours before I even considered becoming a writer. We were on a day trip to San Antonio and we stopped at a Dairy Queen in a small town, right across the street from an old cemetery.  He said, “You should write a book about a group of kids who travel around to different cemeteries.  You could call it Cemetery Tours.”  The name stuck.

Cemetery Tours on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CemeteryToursSeries

Thanks for an awesome year, y’all! Here’s to you!

Still Learning

These past few months, I’ve been attempting a sort of writing experiment.  It’s one that’s working okay, but not as well as I’d like it to.

I’ve been attempting to write two books at once.

I’m sure some authors can pull it off.  After all, how else do they get so many books out there in so short a time?  For me, however, I feel like I’m only giving each book 50% when each book deserves 100%.

One, of course, is the third Cemetery Tours book.  That one is my priority.  After all, it’s part of a series, I know readers enjoyed the first two books and are waiting for the next one, and it’s full of characters that I know.

The new book I’m writing is a bit more complicated.  It’s YA.  It has several new characters, all of whom seem to have secrets that I don’t even know yet.  It’s mythology as opposed to paranormal.  There’s just a lot going on.  I know I’m capable of writing it, but I think it will take more time that I’d originally planned.  I was hoping that I could jot it out in six months and have it available in less than a year.  I just don’t think that’s going to be the case.  I want to do this story justice, and in order to do so, I might have to give it time to evolve.

On the other hand, I don’t want to wait too long to get these stories out because I have no less than a dozen other stories that I eventually want to get written.  They’re all out on paper (and on secret Pinterest boards), but I don’t want to let any of them go to waste.

A few years back, my sister and I went to see Josh Groban in concert.  It was pretty much the best concert ever.  We had floor seats and we were fairly close to him.

How close you may ask?

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Pretty close.

Anyway, at this concert, he had fans text in questions and throughout the show, he would answer them.  One question was the age old, “What advice would you give to aspiring singers?”

Josh gave an astounding answer.  I don’t remember it word for word, but it was something along the lines of, “Never stop learning, never stop being a student.  No matter how far you go, or how successful you become, always be willing to learn something new.  Be humble and be gracious.”

I thought that was just awesome, and it’s something I’ve tried to remember and keep in mind in this past year.  Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Cemetery Tours release! How cool is that?!

On that note, I’m off to go make my book a birthday card.  Talk to y’all later!

To Read List

I have a problem.  It’s one that I’m sure plagues several authors and reading aficionados and it’s one that will only go away with time, commitment, and lots of relaxation.

I simply have too many books on my to-read list.

Technically, I have a never-ending to-read list, but my immediate to-read list is getting a little out of hand.  These are all books that I’ve obtained from fellow authors (in no particular order).  I always try to bump indie-authors up to the top of the to-read list because I know how important reviews are and I love being able to help them in any way that I can.

The Soul by S. R. Carrillo (http://permashift.wordpress.com)

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Born Broken by TJ Wiltshire (http://tjwiltshire.com)

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After Life by Daniel Ionson

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This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs (http://planetpooks.wordpress.com)

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Surviving Life by Jeanne Skartsiaris

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Moon Tears by M.M. Frische

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Take 2 by Linda Bolton

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Support your local and independent authors!  And other artists as well.

Meeting the Authors and Discovering Witches

This last weekend was super.

It began Saturday with a book event at the Colony Public Library called Meet The Authors.  Several local authors gathered at the library to meet with readers (and each other), spread the word, and maybe sell a few books.

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While getting the sales and spreading the word about my books is always great (and very appreciated), my favorite part is always meeting and connecting with readers.  I met one girl who turned out to be an aspiring writer.  She thought it was so cool to meet people who’d actually written books and could hold them in their hands.  She even let me read the beginning of the story that she’d been working on.  I felt so cool and honored that she would trust me with that!  Definitely the best part of the experience.

I also talked with a mom and her daughter about Harry Potter for about an hour.  The girl eventually looked at me and said, “We’ve talked more about Harry Potter than your books.” That tends to happen.  I’m pretty sure I Tweet more about Harry Potter than I do Cemetery Tours.  That might not be the best marketing strategy in the world, but I’m a fangirl at heart.  I can’t help myself.

I also came home with several new books: Surviving Life by Jeanne Skartsiaris (fun fact: her half brother is Ed, Carol’s abusive husband in The Walking Dead! I’m sure he’s quite a nice fellow in real life), Moon Tears by M.M. Frische (she also writes children’s books; her first is called Miss Muffet & Bitsy and is totally adorable), Take 2 by Linda Bolton, The Empowered Woman by J. Nicole Williamson, and This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs.

Finally, at the end of the day, one of the men who ran and coordinated the event asked me if I’d like to come back for an event around Halloween and give a presentation on ghost stories and sell some more books!  I am so excited, I can’t even tell you.  I’ve already begun planning out what I’m going to say (Hamlet, anyone?).

All in all, I’d say the Meet The Authors event was a huge success.

I spent the rest of the weekend reading A Discover of Witches, the first in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

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May I just say that I LOVED THAT BOOK.   Oh my goodness, it was magical.  I loved the characters, (especially Matthew, whom I pictured as Richard Armitage), I loved the setting, and I really loved how Harkness created such a beautiful and compelling story using so many different elements: magic, science, history, alchemy, religion, literature, romance, mythology… It was one of the most intricate and intelligent books I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read the next two books.

My own Witch’s Familiar really enjoyed the book too…

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What are you reading this week?