Texas Renaissance Festival

Alright, here we go!  Pictures from this past weekend at Texas Renaissance Festival.  The theme for the weekend was All Hallow’s Eve, so my friend and fellow author, James William Peercy, invited me down to sell a few ghost stories.  I am so grateful to him and his beautiful wife, Claudette for taking me under their wings.  They are just the most amazing, wonderful, selfless people you could ever hope to meet and James’ books, The Wall Outside series, are just so beautiful and magical.  If you enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend you check out his work.

http://jameswilliampeercy.com

Although I can do things all by myself, I always prefer not to.  Besides, weekend excursions to Renaissance festivals are always so much more fun with friends.  So I took my trusty house elves, Kat and Rachel (Rat) to help me out.

Before we reached the festival, we made a quick stop at this cool, old, haunted town called Anderson.

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After we arrived at the Festival (OMG it was so muddy), we unloaded all the books from the car and then set out to explore the grounds.  Naturally, we first found ourselves in the Enchanted Forest.

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The rest of the grounds were equally beautiful.

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And the arts and crafts were absolutely breathtaking.

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Oh, and there were books too.

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I also had to get my picture taken with my Great-Great-Great-Great several times over Grandfather, Robert the Bruce.

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But I think my favorite new friends that I made were Pip and Owlbus Dumbledore.

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How did you spend your Halloween?

Thank God for the Dreams

That didn’t come true.

That sounds weird, right?  But in college, I had a very, very different life planned out for myself.  I didn’t have any dreams of being a writer.  I had no intention of getting my Master’s degree or starting up my own company.  And I certainly never expected to find myself working at a summer camp.  My dreams were way different, and if they had come true, I don’t think I’d have anything that I have today that is worth having.

I think there are experiences you’re supposed to have and people that are destined to be in your life.  I believe that because I wouldn’t know three of my very best friends had my high school dreams come true, or had I not received a flyer in the mail about a small summer camp up at Lake Texoma.  How weird is that?  To think that that one little piece of paper kind of altered my destiny?  It was a total whim, applying for a lifeguard/counselor’s position up there.  But I did and I got the job.  And because of that one little whim, that one little slip of destiny, I got to spend yesterday hiking with these lovely people (and puppies).

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Every time I’m around them, I can’t help but think about how happy I am that I took that chance, followed that whim.  We’re supposed to be in each others’ lives.  That’s all there is to it.  And that’s an awesome feeling.

I love having them, too, because we all enjoy spending time in beautiful places such as this… Straight out of a fairy tale.

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Exploring

Last week, one of my best friends and I drove up to Texoma to meet another of our best friends and her husband for a hike.  It was lovely.

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We also stumbled upon an abandoned oil field. One of my goals for 2015 was to partake in more urban exploration.  I wanted to explore at least three run-down or abandoned places, but my real goal was to visit at least one a month.  I really thought January was going to pass me by, but the New Years Resolution Gods seem to be smiling down on me.

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All Photographs Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2015

Hello, 27

Today is my 27th birthday.  As always, I love the fact that it is my birthday.  Everyone is being extra nice to me.  I get presents and food and time with my friends and family.  But 27 is a little intimidating.  Somehow, it feels a lot closer to 30 than 26 did.  Not that that’s a bad thing.  After all, 13 Going on 30 claims that your thirties are the best years of your life.  If that’s the case, bring them on! Still, I feel like I have so much of my 20s left to enjoy.  Thankfully, I have three more years!  But if the last three years are any indication, these next three are just going to fly.

I have several goals for the next three years, but my one real goal, my ultimate goal, is really the one that matters.  That goal is to become a NYT Bestselling Author by the time I turn 30.  That gives me exactly three years.  The good news is that next year is a leap year so you know, one extra day (woo-hoo!).  My other goals are more personal, but that’s the big one.  Until that happens, however, I am going to keep working as hard as I can and enjoying every minute of it.

Oh, and on that note, it’s my birthday.  Go buy my books.

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http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-E.-Smith/e/B00F7BPXX6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1421269417&sr=8-1

Little Things Like Destiny

My sister went back to college this morning.  It’s been so great having her back home, and I’m going to miss her like crazy, but I am glad she’s getting back to her path toward whatever is waiting for her.

Last night, we were talking about what we’re supposed to be doing in life.  She told me that even though she knows she’s on the right track and in the right place, she can’t help but feel that there’s something she’s not doing, that there’s something waiting for her.  I know exactly what she’s talking about, because I felt the same way when I was in college.

There’s this notion today that kids are supposed to have everything figured out, but the truth is that’s almost impossible.  Yeah, some know what they want to do, some know their goals and work tirelessly to achieve them.  Some know that they’ll grow up to be doctors or lawyers or engineers.  But there are just as many, if not more so, who literally do not have a clue.  I was one of them.  I’m tempted to say that I’m still trying to figure it out.

It’s weird to look back and think about how everything that’s ever happened to you has been leading up to one moment or one discovery.  For example, my time spent working as a summer camp counselor up at Lake Texoma.  Growing up, I was outdoorsy, but not the camping kind of outdoorsy.  Everything about a job at summer camp was way outside my comfort zone.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have even known the camp existed if I hadn’t, by chance, noticed a flyer for it in the mail one day.

How cool is that?  It’s like, destiny came to me by mail.  Because I do think I was destined to work at that camp.  I met some of my very best friends at that camp, had some of my very best experiences, learned more about myself and grew in ways that I never thought possible.  Working at that camp gave me everything I didn’t know I needed.  And I still need it.

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I like to believe that your destiny will find you, even if you have no idea what it is or where it will lead you, and of course, I think we all have many, many different destinies.  It was my destiny to adopt my kitty, Midnight, and save her from the sewers.  It was my destiny to read the book that led me to realize I wanted to be an author.  It was my destiny to work at a summer camp in a place called Pottsboro.

I guess what I’m hoping to say with this post is that if you don’t know what you’re doing, where you’re headed, what’s going to happen, you’re not alone.  In fact, I think you’re one of the lucky ones.  Your possibilities are endless.  It’s all out there waiting for you.  And when it finds you, it’s going to be amazing.  Take it from someone who’s been there, and who hopefully has a thousand more destinies waiting.  Your life is going to be amazing.

New Year, New Adventures, New Books!

I know a lot of people who make New Years Resolutions.  I know several more who don’t because they never keep them.  I think we all like the idea of a fresh start, a blank slate, and that’s why we take New Years Day as an opportunity to make changes in our lives that we truly want to make.

Now, there are some resolutions I know I can’t keep.  Like giving up chocolate?  Forget it.  I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t eat fast food or drink soda or even coffee.  I NEED chocolate.  It’s my one source of caffeine.  It is my vice.  The only way you could get me to give up chocolate is if a doctor looked me in the eye and told me that if I kept eating chocolate, it would eventually kill me.  And even then, I’d probably still sneak pieces here and there.

So instead of making resolutions that I may or may not be able to actually keep, I set goals for myself.  My goal in 2013 was to publish Cemetery Tours.  My goal for 2014 was to take an amazing trip over the summer.  I actually still haven’t achieved my goal for 2012, which was go see a movie at the drive-in.  Maybe 2015 will be the year for that.

This year, I’m setting myself a few new goals.  The first is to publish not one, but two new books: Boy Band and the third Cemetery Tours.  The second is to at least try to get in a little better shape. I’m not in bad shape, but there’s always room for improvement.  And since I’m almost 27, you know, age might start catching up with me.  Finally, I’d really like to get more into urban exploration.  I met a woman back in October who specialized in exploring and writing about ghost towns.  She was SO cool!  Her name is Robin Cole Jett and you can find her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-River-Historian/195104580538409?pnref=lhc

As for adventures, I already have a few lined up for 2015.  For example, in April, I’ll be participating in the North Texas Book Festival!  I’m looking into a few more events as well, but nothing is solidified.  Then in July, my sister and I are taking a trip to San Diego.  We’ll hopefully be visiting the zoo, the beach, the haunted Del Coronado Hotel, going on a whale watch… And we’ll definitely be seeing One Direction.  Can’t  lie.  I’m really excited.

Of course, throughout the year, I will keep reading and I will definitely keep writing.  Along with the two books I plan to publish, I have at least twenty more in my head desperate to get out.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Being a writer is never dull.  There is literally always something going on, even if it’s just inside your mind.  But as Dumbledore says, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Happy 2015, everyone! I hope it’s your best year yet!

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