Book Things

Hello, friends.  Well, today I’ve barely made it out of bed.  It’s just one of those icky sick days that kind of knocks you off your feet and punches you in the face.  Needless to say, I have not been very productive at all.  That’s why this post will be pretty short.  In fact, it’s basically just going to be me sharing a few new reviews and book covers.

The Cemetery Tours reviews go something like this:

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Friendly reminder that the Cemetery Tours eBook is only $2.99 on Kindle!

After Death has a few new reviews too, but this one is my favorite:

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Finally, a few book cover updates!  First of all, I designed the back cover for Backstage, the highly anticipated sequel to Boy Band:

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I also designed a cover to my new NaNoWriMo project.  I’m still not 100% set on the title or on the font, but it’s something!

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How are you this fine October afternoon?

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A Very Haunted Weekend

Well friends, the Witching Hour is officially upon us!  All Hallows Eve is only days away!

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As I think most of you know, I’ve basically been celebrating Halloween for two straight months now.  This weekend, however, I got to kick things up a notch or two with my closest and dearest friends. It began with a Girls’ Night on Friday.

We drank some wine,

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Watched the single greatest Halloween movie of all time,

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And carved pumpkins!

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I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of my Phoenix.

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Before the night ended, my friends told me that they had an idea.  I have to admit, they are pretty spectacular.  I think I’ll keep them around.

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The next night, I went with another of my best friends to Fort Worth for a Ghost Bus Tour.  Talk about a Halloween dream come true!

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There was also wine.  It was basically perfect.

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But absolutely nothing beats a visit to an old cabin village… Or possibly capturing a few unexplained light anomalies on camera.

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To top it all off, I may have stumbled across a website that allows you to Halloween-ify yourself.

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So yeah, that was my weekend.  How was yours?

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My Halloween Essentials

Alright people.  It’s October 21.  That means we only have ten days left to celebrate one of the greatest feast days of the year: All Hallow’s Eve.

Halloween has always been a big deal in my family.  What’s not to love?  The pumpkins, the magic, the spooks, the costumes…  I think everyone becomes more of a believer in the things that can’t be explained around this time of year.

That being said, I intend to savor every second I have left of these ten days.  So, without further ado, I present

Jacqueline E. Smith’s Halloween Essentials

  • A trip to the pumpkin patch.

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  • A haunting soundtrack full of classic Halloween hits.

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  • A Halloween movie marathon. This marathon MUST include at least three separate viewings of Hocus Pocus.

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  • Candy Corns and Mellowcreme Pumpkins.
  • Scented candles.

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  • Finding your ideal costume.  If you can’t find it, make it!  One year in college when I was particularly broke, I went as The One-Eyed-One-Horned-Flying-Purple-People-Eater and I made my own wings and horn.  I looked a little deranged, but the wings looked AMAZING.

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  • Decorations galore.

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  • A unique design for your Jack-O-Lantern.  Now, I’ve been carving my own Jack-O-Lanterns for years, but scraping out all the insides and carving can be a bit tiresome, so it might not be for everyone.  Especially if you don’t like pulp under your nails.

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  • A black light bulb.  When I was little, my mom would ALWAYS light a black light on All Hallow’s Eve.  It’s simply not the Witching Hour without one.

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  • A black cat.  Naturally.  Where would I be without my beautiful Witch’s Familiar?

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  • A good ghost story. Of course!  And you can get Cemetery Tours on Kindle for only $2.99 for the remainder of October.

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What are your Halloween Essentials?

Happy Bookday!

It’s here!  After more than a year, After Death is finally available in Paperback AND Kindle!

Paperback

Kindle

I’m so excited for the ghostly misadventures of Michael, Luke, and Kate to continue.  I hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them!

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I want to take a little bit of time, however, to celebrate a few OTHER books being released today: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer, and of course, the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

The fact that my book came out on the same day as all of these ladies is, quite frankly, a huge fangirl honor for me.  JK Rowling is Queen, as everyone knows, and I don’t know a single person whose lives she hasn’t touched with her magical world.  Stephenie Meyer, yeah, okay, it’s kind of fun to make fun of Twilight.  But I’ve got to be honest.  I still love it.  I love the story.  It’s just pure fun and fantasy, you know?  Very escapist, and I do love to escape.

Then, finally, there’s Rainbow Rowell.  I fell in love with her writing after reading the story of my life, Fangirl.  I’m serious.  I’ve never read a book that so keenly described what it feels like to love a book and, frankly, to be apprehensive of the world outside.  Oh my Heavens, do I love Fangirl.

As if I didn’t already love Rainbow Rowell enough for  bringing that story to life, I then got to meet her last May.  She is incredible, basically everything I want to be as an author and as a person.  When I found out that her new book, Carry On, inspired by the book series in Fangirl, was being released the same day as mine, I was thrilled.  And yes, I’ve already run out and bought my own copy.

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Yes, I bought Life and Death too.  I wanted to buy the new Harry Potter, but let’s face it, as an Indie Author, I barely have two dimes to rub together.  I really shouldn’t have bought these two books, but I can’t help it.  I have to support the authors and stories that I love.  And, yeah, okay, I really need to feed my addiction to YA literature.  Most importantly, though, these books serve as a reminder of why I do what I do and why I put so much time and effort into my books.  I want this world of words to be my world, too.

Happy Bookday, everyone!  Go read your favorite book!  Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, go pick up something new!

May I recommend a ghost story?

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After Formatting, After Editing, After Death

Tomorrow is the day.  The next book in the Cemetery Tours series, After Death, will be available!  To share a little secret with you, the Kindle eBook was available last night, but then I was told that there’d been a technical error with the file and I had to take it down.

Cue every author’s nightmare.

Any other day, if you asked me if there was anything I didn’t love about what I do, the answer would be no.  But there are moments, like last night and half of today, when the self-doubt and unforeseen glitches start getting the better of me.  This is a fun business and I love it so much and I love my books and characters, but the act of publishing itself can be very stressful.  There’s already pressure on authors to write books that people want to read, but formatting and making them look professional and seeing to it that there are no (or as few as possible) typos or uneven lines etc, etc…  It can be overwhelming.

I want to be an author.  I want to write stories for the rest of my life and I want readers to enjoy those stories.  I think that no matter what we pursue, there will always be a bit of stress, a bit of fear, especially if we really want everything to work out.  And hopefully, it’s worth the risk.  Risks have to be taken in life.  Otherwise, we’d never evolve.  I hope that I’m taking the right ones.  I like to think that I am.

That being said, I really hope that you all like After Death and that all of the issues have been taken care of.  I know no matter what that I’m going to keep writing.  I have to keep writing.  I truly believe than any author who puts their work out there, especially those of us who are independent, really don’t have a choice but to keep writing.  Let’s face it, I could be making a heck of a lot more money doing a heck of a lot less work.  But I love my books and I love my characters and most of all, I love my readers.  I hope this new book is everything you deserve and more.

On a totally unrelated note, here are some really pretty autumn pictures from my trip to the Arboretum last Friday.

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I also took pictures of my books.

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One Week!

Exactly one week from today, After Death, the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series will be available on Amazon.com and Kindle.  It will be available on Barnes and Noble.com and Nook shortly thereafter.  I am so excited to share this book with y’all.  It’s a book I began over a year ago, but after completing the first draft, I realized I hated it.  It didn’t have a plot.  It was just a bunch of people sitting around and talking.  I couldn’t give you all that, and I certainly want to do better by my characters.

I’m so pleased with the final draft of After Death, and I’ve received very positive feedback from my editors and beta-readers.  I’m hoping y’all like it just as much.  I want to give my characters a good story, and most importantly, I want to give all of you a good story.  You deserve it.

I’m a bit under the weather today, so this is going to be a rather short blog post.  I do, however, want to share the first two chapters of After Death with you here! Enjoy!

After Death Chapters 1 & 2

After Death on Pinterest

After Death Soundtrack

After Death on GoodReads

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My Ghost Story

In just a few short weeks, the third book in the Cemetery Tours series, After Death, will be available on Amazon and Kindle (and Nook shortly thereafter).  I can’t wait.  This is a book I’ve been working on for over a year.  I knew what I wanted for it, but for some reason, it took TWO rewrites to get it to where I wanted it to be.  It would have been easy to simple finish the first version and publish it, but I would not have been happy with it.  There was no real plot.  My characters and especially my readers deserve better than that.  So I started over from scratch.

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Two days after the release, I will also be speaking to a small group about me and about my books.  I’ve got to tell y’all, I’m not that great at talking about my books, but I’m even worse at talking about myself.  I’m just really not that interesting.  I have interesting stories.  But me as a person?  Kind of boring.

I’ve been trying my best to come up with ideas for my presentation.  I will certainly include a synopsis of the first book as well as a little bit about the next two.  But you know, the question I get asked most often is, “So what inspired you to write a ghost story?”

I know I’ve answered this question multiple times on my blog, but those posts are lost in the binary infinity that is the internet.

My love for ghost stories began at a young age.  I grew up in a house that celebrated Halloween the way most people celebrate Christmas.  My whole family just loves it.  Ghosts, witches, vampires, zombies, I could never get enough.  My mother and I were (and still are) particularly fond of all the ghost-hunting and unexplained mystery documentaries that aired around All Hallows Eve.  I remember learning about notorious haunting grounds, such as the Del Coronado Hotel.  I knew then that I wanted to have a ghost experience of my own.

It never occurred to me to actually write a ghost story until 2010, when I suffered a very sudden and unexpected loss in my family.  Long story short, I was devastated.  I’d never hurt like that before.  I actually felt my heart breaking.  I turned to my faith in God to help see me through.  But I also turned to the paranormal.

I became obsessed in proving to myself that life did continue on after death.  I visited libraries and bookstores seeking rock solid testimonies of psychics, mediums, religious figures, and those who’ve endured Near Death Experiences.  I scoured Scripture for passages that referred to death and life eternal.  Perhaps most importantly, I began tuning into ghost hunting shows, particularly one called Ghost Adventures.

It was during that time that I began writing a story about a guy who could see ghosts and a girl who was haunted by a spirit of a loved one.  It was a mess.  Of course, I never really intended to publish it.  It was just a story that I began writing to make myself feel better.

It didn’t really become something more until I was over at my friends’ apartment one night watching Criminal Minds.  Now, I’m a huge fangirl.  You all know this about me.  That night, I was introduced to Dr. Spencer Reid portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler and let me tell you, it was love at first sight.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  But I knew then and there that I’d found the inspiration for my main character.  He just looks like the kind of guy who would see ghosts and who would be an adorable mess trying to figure it all out.

Shortly thereafter, I realized my story was missing one key element: An enthusiastic ghost hunter.  Cue Ghost Adventures and the creation of Luke Rainer.

After that, the story naturally fell into place.  I knew going in that there would be at least two books in the series.  That soon turned to three.  Now the plan is five.  Both books are already planned out and I can’t wait to write them.  I can’t tell you a lot, but I can tell you that the fourth book is going to be set in Scotland.  It’s going to be so much fun to write I can’t even tell you.  Hopefully it will be just as much fun to read, if not more so!

Until then, I hope you enjoy After Death. And if you haven’t read the first two, I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!  Preferably before you read the third.  But you know, there’s no law that says you have to read a book series in order.  Just do me a favor and don’t tell me if you do.

Love you all!  Talk to you soon!

After Death Soundtrack

As with all my other books before, I have created a playlist, an unofficial soundtrack, of songs that helped inspire After Death, the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series.  We still have a little over a month before After Death is released, but I wanted to share the soundtrack with you today!  It’s been such a fun, lovely week.  I hope everyone else’s has been just as wonderful.

If you’re interested, you can find the soundtrack to the first Cemetery Tours book here.  Between Worlds soundtrack is here.  Please note that this is an unofficial soundtrack. I am not selling these songs or benefiting from them in any way.

After Death:

  1. “She is the Sunlight” by Trading Yesterday
  2. “Heaven’s Gonna Wait” by Hedley
  3. “Clarity” by Amy Conrad
  4. “Welcome to Mystery” by Plain White T’s
  5. “A Drop in the Ocean” by Ron Pope
  6. “Reason Why” by Sleepthief
  7. “Painting Flowers” by All Time Low
  8. “Ghost Machine” by Jon Foreman
  9. “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey
  10. “Where’s My Angel” by Metro Station
  11. “The Mixed Tape” by Jack’s Mannequin
  12. “When the Stars Go Blue” by Tyler Hilton
  13. “Still Fighting It” by Ben Folds

That last one by Ben Folds inspired the final scene, which totally makes me cry.  I’m the author, so I might be really biased, but I’m really hoping that everyone enjoys the book as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.  Until next time!

CT BTW AD

Cemetery Tours Redesign

Alright, folks.  I’ve mentioned before here that I’ve been considering re-designing the Cemetery Tours book covers.  As y’all know, I absolutely love the designs created by my talented friend, Ben Durham.

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However, the images on these covers are stock images.  They are not ones that I own.  Yes, I paid for the right to use them, but eventually, I would have to repay.  I also couldn’t use the design for any sort of promotional products other than the covers themselves.  I love these covers, but I believe I have the talent, experience, and resources available to design book covers using only my material.  No stock covers.  Everything about the books would be 100% mine.

That being said, if you really like the old cover designs and you really want a “first edition” copy with the original covers, order them now, because beginning October 6, only the new designs will be available.

http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-E.-Smith/e/B00F7BPXX6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

As for the designs themselves, I don’t really have a lot of experience when it comes to book covers.  I did design the cover to Boy Band, but I wanted to make sure that the new covers for Cemetery Tours were as high quality as the originals.

I started out with something simple.

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But clearly, I still had work to do.

The next designs were a bit more colorful.

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But to me, they still looked too sloppy.  I liked the colors in the second one, but somehow, it didn’t look professional.  It looked like something I designed in photoshop class.

Eager to experiment with the color scheme, I continued on to the third design idea.

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For a little while, I thought these might be the final cover designs.  I liked them so much that I even designed a cover for the third book, After Death, to be released October 6.

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Alas, after a few weeks, I realized there was still something to be desired about them.  They were too “busy” as one of my Twitter friends noticed.

I decided to give it one last shot.  These are the designs.  I’m certain.

Available October 6, 2015:

CT BTW

And the cover design for the newest book in the Cemetery Tours series!

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Let me know what you think!

Oh!  And a friendly reminder that you can still enter to #BecomeACharacter in the next installment in the Boy Band series!

https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/becomeacharacter/

Antiquing

Dallas Comic Con is this weekend.  This will be my first time there, both as a fan and as a guest author.  I’m super, super excited about it, but I also have NO idea what to expect.  I think I’m set as far as wardrobe goes (I’m not dressing up like a character, but as always, I am going to try to dress nice and like I’m totally qualified to write ghost stories), but I’m still a little uncertain as to what my table should look like.  In the spirit of aesthetics and consumerism, I decided to visit an antique store.

I didn’t really find anything that I thought would go well with my table, but my sister and I did venture into the very back of the store, and the moment we set foot there, we both decided it was totally haunted.  Here are some of the pictures that I took in an attempt to capture the spooky atmosphere.

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Okay, so I took way more pictures than I thought I did.  But it was a really cool store!

In other news, yesterday the weather was awful, so my sister, a friend, and I decided to watch that terrible movie adaptation of an even more terrible book.  You know, the one that’s supposed to be really kinky.

Yes, I’m talking about Fifty Shades of Grey.  And yes, I drank a lot of wine.

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I went into this movie thinking that I would be laughing and rolling my eyes at how awful it was.  I expected it to have a mediocre script with mediocre acting.  But overall, I thought I would at least be a little shocked and scandalized.  Sadly, I was none of the above.

Y’all.  This movie is boring.  I was so surprised at how bored I was the entire time.  It wasn’t even so bad that it was funny.  It was just dull.  I didn’t care what happened to anyone (except the cute guy who worked in the hardware store, but we never saw him again after his glorious first appearance – sad).  What made it worse was that I found myself hoping something weird and crazy would happen just to make the six bucks I spent worth it.  But no.  Nothing.  Just a crazy rich control freak (with an apparently super pointless business because I have no idea what he actually does) obsessed with a girl with the personality of a dust mite (I swear, this girl could win the lottery and she’d still be like, “Meh”) and sometimes he spanks her.

Hello!  This movie was rated “R?”  Why?  Because they said the F word a few times?  Maybe years of watching crime dramas and cult documentaries has desensitized me or something, because this movie was just two hours of lame.  Also, I am sick to death of the female protagonists with the personality of a wet paper towel falling head over heals for the angsty tortured guy who’s “so bad for them” while completely ignoring the sweet, cute, happy, funny, down-to-earth guys that would make much better boyfriends.  Christian Grey doesn’t like going to movies or out to dinner?  Forget you, pal.  You sound like the worst date ever.

Oh, and you’re a stalker too.

Anyway, there’s my Fifty Shades rant.  If you’re still reading this, I applaud you.

Enjoy the rest of your evenings, everyone!