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.

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

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!

Fall is Here!

Ladies and gentlemen, the autumnal equinox is upon us.  This means cooler weather, colorful leaves, sweaters, scarves, and pumpkin everything.

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Confession: I like the idea of pumpkin spiced lattes and cakes and bread, but I do not enjoy the taste.  At all.  I love the smell and the pumpkins themselves, but I cannot eat or drink anything that is pumpkin spicy.  

It’s hard describe with words what exactly it is that makes fall so magical.  For me, it’s always been more of a feeling, an experience of the senses.  Fall looks like crisp blue skies, orange and red and yellow leaves, brown grass, haystacks, and just a touch of purple and black.  Fall smells like pumpkin spice and firewood and wool sweaters and a fresh northern breeze.  Fall sounds like the crackle of leaves and the whispers of wind and a hint of eerie, hypnotic, ethereal music.  Fall feels like crisp, cool, refreshing air, like the memories of ghosts who’ve gone before, like for the first time, all magic is possible.

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Fall is a time to spend with your friends and family.  It’s a time for state fairs and pumpkin patches and being outside.  It’s a time to savor and enjoy.  It’s a time to remember what it means to be simple and to believe in what we can’t see.

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Best of all, it’s a time for ghosts and witches and things that go bump in the night.

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Happy Fall everyone!

#AmWriting

Hi, friends!

Well, after another busy, busy week, I am finally getting back to my bliss: reading and writing. It’s been so nice. It’s been especially nice because we’re smack dab in the middle of the hottest months in Texas and… IT’S COOL OUTSIDE.

I’m not kidding. It’s been like, 80 degrees around here. Do you know what 80 degrees is to a Texan?! It’s sweater weather. I had coffee and tea with a friend the other day and we couldn’t stand around outside because we were getting chilled. THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN IN TEXAS.

Anyway, the lovely weather, naturally has inspired the burning of fall candles and the viewing of several M. Night Shyamalan movies in anticipation of autumn. Now that it’s August, the Smith family will begin celebrating all things Halloween.

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I seem to have gotten off track. I set off to write a blog post about writing and I somehow ended up telling you all about how much I love Halloween and fall. But everyone loves Halloween and fall! It’s the best part about summer ending. And let me tell you, I love summer. It’s my favorite season. I am a summer kind of girl. But I can never say I’m sad to see it end because I’m always so excited about autumn.

Now that this week is over and things are slowing down a bit, I’m thrilled to be able to get back into writing, especially since right now, I’m working on two books. The first is the third book in the Cemetery Tours series, and let me tell you, I am so excited about it. It’s going to be so much fun to write this one. The others were fun too, but oh my goodness, this one is going to be cool. Then of course, I was driving the other day, and suddenly I knew exactly what I was going to do with the fourth one, so now I’m looking forward to finishing the third one just so I can get started on the fourth!

The second book I’m working on, as I’ve mentioned before, is the first in a brand new series. It’s one that’s been in my head for a while, but for some reason just never worked on paper. Well, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. Once I get closer to publishing it, I can tell you more about it, but for now, I’m just having a blast finally writing it the way it’s meant to be written. I’m writing it so fast that I know I’m going to have to go back and make several revisions. However, with a brand new project, that’s bound to happen. Getting a first draft out is my main priority right now and I’ve got to be honest, I’m loving it.

I’ve also been keeping an eye out for more events that I can attend in the area. I still have a few emails to send and a few calls to make. But hey, that’s just the life of an independent artist. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or a musician or an artist or a filmmaker. When you’re independent, there is always something you can be doing.

And with that, I’m going to leave you with this awesome quote I saw the other day when my friend and I were having coffee (though technically, I was having tea because I don’t like coffee).

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The Great Pumpkin

“There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people; religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

Wise words, Linus.  Wise words.

As an author of a ghost story, of course I love all things Halloween!  Here are a few of the pictures I took yesterday at the Arboretum.  Enjoy!

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Happy Halloween!

All photographs copyright Jacqueline E. Smith © 2013

 

Autumn is in the Air

Just a short post for tonight, because I really want to go and get some writing done.

This afternoon, my mother and I took a trip to the Arboretum.  I love going to the Arboretum, especially in the fall, when there are over 2,000 (not an exaggeration) pumpkins and gourds on display.  Naturally, I took my camera (besides writing, my other great love and creative outlet is photography).  I’ll probably post pictures in a couple of days.  This weekend is going to be all about RELEASE PARTY PLANNING!

In the mean time, please enjoy this lovely not-photoshopped-at-all water lily.

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Okay, maybe it was photoshopped a little.