Words, Words, Words

I remember in one of my grad school writing classes, one of the guest speakers told us, “One of the most difficult things that you will ever do as a writer is scrap and entire novel and start from scratch.  And you will do it.”  I’m here to tell you today it’s actually not that bad.

Is it time-consuming?  Yes.

Is it a hard decision to make?  Somewhat.

Is it worth it?  Oh my goodness, yes.

I got to the seventeenth chapter of the new Cemetery Tours before I was finally able to admit that I wasn’t happy with it.  I tried to deny it for a while, tried to convince myself that I could write through it.  But the story was going around in circles.  It was all discussion and no action.  Worst of all, the plot was very thin and barely there.  I knew I needed to change something or else there was no way it would measure up to the first two.

Making the decision to completely rewrite has been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made.  I’m SO much happier with the story now.  It’s less convoluted and far more interesting.  It’s holding my attention better, which is a necessity.  If you can’t get into your own story, then you know you’ve got a problem.  Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes it is really hard to acknowledge that you’ve got seventeen chapters of nothing, but in the long run, it was the best thing I could have done for my stories, for my characters, and for my readers.  I want to give them the best books that I can.  I would never publish a book that I was even a little unsure of.  I have to believe in a book.  I have to love it.  I have to know it’s my best work.  Otherwise, there’s no way I’m putting it out there for others to read.  My first novel will never, ever see the light of day because it is just so bad.

Speaking of first novels, I’m currently in the process of beta-reading my friend Paula Walker Baker’s first novel!  I’m so, so, so excited for her and so impressed by how much she’s accomplished and how far she’s come in the year that I’ve known her.  This lady is going places and nothing is going to stop her!


That being said, I’m off to go read the rest of her book.  Goodnight, all!


Hi, friends!  Today’s post is not going to be a long one because I have a few projects that need to be finished by tomorrow.  That being said, the new manuscript is in the hands of one editor and flying off to the second this afternoon.  Yay!  So excited!

So, instead of a lengthy post, please enjoy some pictures of the snow that fell yesterday morning.  Expecting more tomorrow.  Oh joy.

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No Time for Celebration

Last night, I finished revisions on Boy Band.  The next step, of course, is to run one last spelling and grammar check before sending it off to my dearly beloved editors.  One of them lives in California, so I have to email it to her.  That’s great.  I can get it sent off tonight.  But my other editor lives right down the street and I like to print it off and give it to her.  Unfortunately, I do not own a printer, so in order to print off full manuscripts, I have to drive to Staples.

Well guess what?


Guess what else?


That’s right.  Texas is planning on 2-4 inches of snow.  I mean, snow is a lot better than ice, but I still can’t get out and drive in it!  All the stereotypes are true, folks.  Texans cannot drive in snow or ice.  If you get behind the wheel in this stuff, you are asking for it.  I speak from experience.  I totaled my car back in 2010 because I thought it was no big deal.  Nope.  It is a big deal.  I was lucky enough to walk away with just a scratch, but I am through taking chances when it comes to ice and snow.

So, that’s my snow rant.  The good news is I have brownie mix.  And a LOT of books I haven’t read yet.  So the cabin fever isn’t too bad.  Still, I REALLY miss the sun.  The sun is my friend.  I like the sun.


I say there’s no time for celebration, however, because I have two new projects that I need to have finished by Saturday.  I’m really excited about them, but I also really need to buckle down and focus on them as well.  That’s good, because I like being busy, but it’s unfortunate because I just started reading a new book and it’s really good and I want to finish it and do nothing else and the cold, grey, weather outside is only making me want to do nothing except lie around and read even more.  Yes, I know, that was a very long sentence.  I’m sorry.

Good things are happening, y’all.  In spite of the cold.

The Revision Cycle

I think I’ve mentioned before that before any of my books go to my editors, they first go chapter by chapter to my sister.  Every writer needs someone whom they trust to be completely honest, especially when it comes to what needs to be revised.  For me, that’s my sister.  For one thing, she doesn’t have to worry about telling me the truth or hurting my feelings because I have to love her no matter what.  For another thing, she reads more than anyone I know.  She reads more than I do.  And I read a lot.  But the thing about KJ is that she knows a good book when she reads one.  She knows what it takes, what works and what doesn’t.  I also know she’d never let me publish anything she thought was lousy, not for my benefit, but because she doesn’t want people reading it and thinking, “Wow, KJ’s sister sucks.”

Today, I received not only my newest manuscript (and let me tell you, she poured her heart and soul into it.  She did a great job with the Cemetery Tours books, but I think she’s REALLY excited about this new one) but a box full of Valentines presents – nail polish, earrings, a mix CD, a key chain, lip balm, markers, and a copy of a magazine full of One Direction pictures.  All the makings for a perfect girls night.  I just wish she was here to share it with me.


Now that the manuscript is back in my hands, however, the real work is about to begin.  I love every part of the writing and publishing process, but revisions can be grueling.  I try to stay as organized as possible when I go through and make changes, but it can get confusing.  I can’t take too long with revisions, however, because I need to get this manuscript to my editors, especially since the book is due for release April 21!  I’ve told y’all before, but I am really excited about this book.  It’s so different from Cemetery Tours, but it’s so fun.

Of course, I’m still writing Cemetery Tours 3.  I started chapter 17 last night, and it’s taking some new and interesting turns that I didn’t expect.  I hope readers like it as much as the first two.  That’s something I worry about, you know?  That it won’t live up to the others.  That the first two were awesome but the third one is crap.  I know writers are supposed to exude confidence and self-assurance, but I think the truth is we all worry about how our work will be received.  We all want our book to be someone’s favorite book.  One of my dreams is to have someone write fanfiction about my characters one day!  When that day comes, I’ll know I’ve made it.

Have an awesome day, all!  I won’t be posting tomorrow because I have my very first JURY DUTY.  If you want to follow me on Twitter, however, I’ll try to do some live-tweeting.  Not about the case or anything confidential, of course,  but about how bored I am and maybe a picture of my shoes.

Twitter: JackieSmith114

Peace out.

To Do List

This week has been busy, and it’s only going to get busier.  Today, I got to have lunch with a friend whose book I’m currently editing (she brought my flowers… always makes me happy!).  I always enjoy meeting with writer friends, discussing techniques, character biographies, and of course, the ever evolving road to publication.  After lunch, I ran over to Ross and bought a new outfit for the book-signing this weekend.  We’re supposed to dress sort of “in character” and I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, but I think I’ve got it all figured out.  I’ll let you all decide when I post pictures this weekend (of course there will be pictures).  I also watered my sunflowers and planted my new flowers out next to them.  I hope I didn’t accidentally kill them in the process.  I might not have the proverbial green thumb.

In spite of this day of noted accomplishments, I still have a lot to get done in the following months.

1) Finish Editing Charli’s book

2) Re-Edit Cody’s book

3) Finish editing Between Worlds

4) Purchase Bar Code for Between Worlds

5) PCN for Between Worlds

6) Practice reading for Book Signing/Reading this weekend

7) Get over fear of Public Speaking

8) Decorations/Signs for Book Signing

9) Research other potential venues/signings/festivals

10) Marketing plan

11) Follow through with plan to become healthier in body, mind, and spirit

And finally…



Blood Moon Rising (and Other Exciting Things)

These last few weeks have been incredibly busy, but they’ve also been very exciting.

For one thing, ten copies of Cemetery Tours sold over the weekend!  I was thrilled and, at the same time, stunned.  That’s the most it’s ever sold at a time.  My first thought was, “Uh-oh… that’s a typo.”  But after a few days and it still says that those books sold… well then, I think I’m going to believe them!  



The next bit of exciting news… I am officially participating in my first book signing event!  It will feature seven other authors (I think) and it will begin with a book reading event on Friday, May 2 and end with an all day thing on Saturday, May 3!  I’m super excited and super nervous.  I’m not a very good public speaker at all, but I’m hoping that, when I’m talking about my book, I’ll be a little more confident and articulate.  


Finally, the edits for CT2 are well underway.  My goal is to have them mostly finished by next week so I can start formatting and hopefully have the ISBN assigned by the end of the month.  Then I can FINALLY release the title!  I know there will still be editing to be done (yaaaaay), but at least the process can really begin.  The editing is probably my least favorite part.  I really actually love the actual publishing and creating a book process.  

In other news, Blood Moon was incredible last night.  I saw the very first bit of the eclipse, but it was really cold outside, so I just went outside at the beginning, middle and total eclipse.  I was sleepy when I woke up this morning, but it was worth it!  


Grown Up Stuff

Hi, all.

This has been a very busy week.  House-sitting, regular job, one friend is in the hospital (on the mend, thank goodness), and another friend, I just found out, is going through a divorce… crazy, I tell you!  Life is weird.

With all of this going on, I haven’t had a lot of time to concentrate on either promoting Cemetery Tours, editing the sequel, or writing the new manuscript.  That’s the only problem with being an independent author.  Along with regular life, you have to figure out how to get all of that done too.  What I wouldn’t give for the luxury of being able to just work on my books and focus on writing!  The good news is that it is almost the weekend.  I plan on devoting the next few days to getting the sequel marked up, edited, and printed off again next week so I can start going over it myself and formatting it so I can finally move forward with ISBN and PNC.

That’s not to say I’ve gotten nothing accomplished this week.  I did FINALLY manage to get my two Pinterest accounts Verified!



Unfortunately, it was simply impossible to verify through my company website, http://www.windtrailpublishing.com , so I added two new blogs to my WordPress account.  I haven’t had time to really spruce them up yet, but once I get them up and running I will let you know.

I am also thrilled to announce that A) Cemetery Tours reached the top 200,000s in Amazon’s Bestselling Paperbacks.


Cemetery Tours has also reached over 500 likes on Facebook!


In preparation for the sequel’s release in June, I’ve also set a new goal.  I want Cemetery Tours to have 50 reviews on Amazon by the time the second book is out.  It has 37 reviews right now, so I only need 13 more.  I’m really hoping we can make that happen.  I’ve even started up a Review Party Event that people can RSVP to on Facebook.


Anyway, I realize that this post has mostly been me, me, me, but I am super excited about the sequel and future projects.  What are y’all working on right now?

Of Ink and Editing

I had a pretty fun and active weekend.  I had a meeting with my primary editor.  I attended my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party.  I went bowling and played air hockey.

And I got my first tattoo.

For those who know me, this came as a huge shock.  I am not the kind of girl who gets tattoos.  I’m a goody-two shoes, nerdy fangirl.  Tattoos are just not my thing.  At least, they’re not supposed to be.

In high school, I spent most of my first hour classes drawing flowers and butterflies on my inner left ankle.  Of course, back then, I never considered actually getting a real tattoo.  Too painful.  Too rebellious.  Too permanent.

About six months ago, however, I started thinking about it.  I really couldn’t afford it, and I wasn’t entirely certain it wasn’t just a passing fancy.  I decided to give it six months.  If I still wanted one then, I’d get one.

Last week, I realized I still wanted one.  I began browsing design ideas and found one of a turtle with a flower on its shell.  I recognized the flower, but couldn’t name it, so I looked it up.  As fate would have it, it was Plumeria rubra acutifolia, or West Indian Jasmine.

I knew right away that was the flower I’d been waiting for.  Beautiful, tropical, and bearing the same name as my sweet Jazzy.  I drew up a design, and Saturday afternoon, my friend Kit Kat met me at Ink Inc in McKinney.  The idea of getting a tattoo is pretty nerve wracking, and I wanted someone there for moral support.

As it turns out, however, the pre-needle anxiety is the worst part of the entire process.  My tattoo artist directed Kat and me into one of the back rooms where I sat down on the operating chair (ha ha).  He sterilized my leg, set the stencil, made sure I was 100% happy with it, and then he opened up the needles.  I learned that was the most important thing you can do while getting a tattoo.  Make sure they open the needles in front of you.

My design has little dots on it, so he said, “Okay, I’m going to start with those.  Are you ready?”

I figured if I could survive the hell that was wisdom teeth extraction, I could handle anything.  So I said, “Go for it.”

For those of you who’ve always wanted a tattoo but are scared of the pain, let me tell you right now, I have had paper cuts that hurt worse than being tattooed.  I’m not kidding.  It’s just above my inner left ankle, which, I’ve heard, is one of the least painful places to get tattooed, but still.  On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most painful, I’d give it a 3.5.  Of course, that kind of pain really doesn’t bother me all that much.  Headaches and muscle cramps, now those almost put me over the edge, but getting tattooed?  Really no big deal.

Especially when the result is this:


Less than a minute after he finished.




Today. Much less red and swollen.

Like I said, I am the last person on Earth anyone would expect to get a tattoo, so I got a wide variety of responses such as, “WAIT WHAT” “Is that your ankle?!!?”  “Is that real?!  Is it permanent?”  and “Welcome to the club!  Look out, they’re addictive!”

I will admit, that I do not have any more planned at this time.  I really just wanted the one on my ankle, and I love it.  I designed it, I love flowers, I love summertime tropical things, and it has special meaning to me.  However, I am open to the idea.

In other non-tattoo news, I’m about ready to begin (or I guess the correct term is “continue”) the editing process.  I have two copies full of edits and suggestions to work with.  Also!  Before I forget, there is a blog called The Book Cover Project.  Authors, all you have to do is submit a picture of your book cover and a small blurb about it.  You can find Cemetery Tours‘ Book Cover Feature here: http://thebookcoverproject.blogspot.in/2014/04/cemetery-tours-jacqueline-smith.html

Have a great Monday, all!

TGFE or Thank God For Editors

Yesterday, one of my three editors/beta readers returned my manuscript, full of little notes and corrections.  I’m always nervous to find out what people will think.  Even though I’ve hired them to be honest and to tell me what works, what doesn’t work, where I wrote “their” instead of “there”, etc., I still get jittery.  What if I don’t like what they think?  What if they think I’m a total idiot because I forgot to add a comma?  What if they think the story sucks and that I just need to rewrite the whole darn thing?

Fortunately, she loved the story and made several quite useful suggestions.  It’s so nice getting an outside perception.  “No, you don’t need this.  You need to expand on this.”  I know what’s going on in my head in the story, but having someone who doesn’t know let you know what’s missing or what is not needed… oh my gosh, this is why writers have beta readers and editors!

My favorite part is that the program she used to edit allowed her to go through and add in little corrections that I’d missed!  DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH BUSY WORK THAT IS GOING TO SAVE ME?!  I’m not even going to lie to you.  I am a lazy person and I hate going back and fixing every itsy bitsy little detail.  I will, because I want my book to be professional quality, but oh man!  I am so excited about that.  I can’t even tell you.

Her final note on the last page of the manuscript really made my day.


Now I am even more excited to get this book done and out there!

In other news, I’ve been thinking about my newer projects.  I will be working on getting the third CT book started, but I also want to get some new stuff out there.  There is one story I’ve had in my head for ages, and I’ve tried multiple times to get it started, but somehow, something always feels off.  That’s not a new feeling.  It took me four failed attempts and two years to get Cemetery Tours right.  In the first draft, Michael Sinclair’s character was named Nick Tanner and he had to travel all across the country to find a dead guy’s fiancee.  I definitely like the story better now.

I realized today that one of my problems with the new story is my female protagonist.  She’s very serious and very quiet, and it’s hard for me to write characters like that because I am so the opposite.  That’s something I love about writing Kate from CT.  She’s so funny and neurotic and outspoken.  That’s the kind of female character I enjoy writing.  When I write the timid, serious characters, I think, “Oh my God, how do you have friends?  You’re so boring and annoying!”  I think this character has a lot of potential, but she needs to be more fun and interesting.  I also realized that I’ve been trying to write the story as an adult novel while, in all honesty, I’m pretty sure it’s more of a YA.  Some reconfiguration might be in order, but you know, when isn’t it?  The most important thing is to keep writing and to keep moving forward.

Long Weekend

This past weekend has been a long one, and not necessarily in the good sense.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the best either.  For one thing, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather (even though the weather outside now is GLORIOUS!  Finally it’s feeling like spring!).  For another (and this is the big stressor), my sweet almost 21-year-old kitty has not been feeling her best, so I’ve pretty much been on round-the-clock nurse duty.  She’s doing okay.  I honestly thought she might not make it through the weekend, but she’s still happy, still purring, and most importantly, still eating and drinking.  So yeah, she’s been my number one priority these last few days. 





She’s my girl and she’s been my friend for a long time!    

On the book front, however, I am pleased to report that I have made quite a bit of progress.  I went through and did sort of a quick edit/format/spell-check and it’s ready for my editor and beta readers.  In doing all that, I got to reread and refresh and I am so happy to say that I love this book.  I love it just as much as I love the first one, maybe even more because there’s some new scenery and new characters and the old characters are already established so it was more fun to write!  If you enjoyed Cemetery Tours, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one.  I’m in the process of assigning its ISBN, but I still need to know a few things, like publication date, how many words the final copy has, etc…  Right now, it’s at 73,000 but that is always subject to change.  I do need to get back in touch with my cover designer, but he’s currently in Kentucky filming at the site of the sinkhole that swallowed up all those Corvettes (my uncles were in mourning for days…).  

Finally, A Platform of Sorts was nominated once again for the Liebster Award!  I’m so honored, and I will try to get around to nominating and doing all the facts, but Jazzy and the new book are, again, my first and second priorities.  Thank you to my friend Diana at http://brilliantlynovel.wordpress.com for nominating me!  I’m honored!  🙂  


I also took a trip to the library for research for my next book.  If all goes according to plan (I’ve learned that nothing is set in stone when it comes to writing), my next book will be either a stand-alone novel or the first in a trilogy.  I’m thinking it will be the former though.  I guess we’ll all find out!  And hey, I’d rather have too many ideas to choose from than no clue at all!  

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  

Also, if you’ve read Cemetery Tours, it only needs ONE MORE REVIEW to break 30 on Amazon!  It’s been stuck at 29 for a few weeks now, so if you’d like to stop by and write like, two or three sentences on why it’s a good book (or an awful book, but honestly, I’d prefer the former), I’d be eternally in your debt.  Thank you all!  

Peace out.