Jazzed About The Library

This last Saturday, I participated in my second Meet the Authors event at the Colony Library.  As always, it was a fun event.  The people at the library are all just so lovely, as are the authors who participate.  I came home with several new books I am itching to read.  Since After Death will be coming out in just a WEEK, I might actually have a little extra time to read soon!  Hooray!

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I also participated in a new event this year called Jazzed About the Library, a dinner and fundraiser for the library.  It was quite the glamorous event with two live jazz bands, a photo booth, a wandering magician, and eight local authors (myself included).

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My favorite moment of the night, however, was near the very end when my new friend, Chase (author of the self-help book Have a Chase Day: IChase IDream), and I were packing up to leave.  We’d been talking to this one little girl and her brother all day.  She was a third grader, he was in Kindergarten.  This little girl is one of the brightest girls I’ve ever met.  She was happy talking to us for hours about animals, everything she learned in school, and our favorite Disney characters.  At the end of the night, Chase and I both told her that if she ever had any questions or if she’d ever thought about writing, to contact us.  It was then that her dad took her by the shoulders and said, “You see them?  You see how hard they’ve worked and what they’re doing with their lives?  That is what I want for you.”

That, my friends, is the best compliment I’ve ever received in my entire life.  I was so touched, I didn’t know what to say.  I know this little girl will go on to do whatever she sets her mind to.  She just has that spark.

As for me, my new goals for the year include reading and reviewing a stack of books (mostly published by fellow Indie Authors) that I’ve had sitting by my bed for forever.

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I think that is a fairly attainable goal.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Focus

Hi, friends!

I haven’t been very good at keeping up with y’all.  Sorry about that.  I’ve seen two out-of-town friends this week and have been hiking and swimming and bowling despite my body telling me that it’s feeling sick and that I need to slow down a little bit and today… it just kind of crashed.

Still, I want to try and get some work done because I have been playing way too much for someone who wants to get two more books out by the end of this year.  Play is a wonderful thing, and I want to spend as much time with my out-of-town friends (and my in-town friends as well) as I can, but I do need to focus.  I can’t lose sight of my goals and what I want to accomplish.

Since I was little, I’ve always been a very goal-oriented person.  I’m like those mice in Who Moved My Cheese.  I have to be working toward something or else I just don’t know what i’m doing.  Right now, I’m working toward getting the next Cemetery Tours book written.  My goal is to have the first draft of the manuscript done by the end of the month so that I can get it to my editors and published by late September/early October.  Then, I hope to have the next Boy Band book out by December.  Overly ambitious?  Perhaps.  But if I don’t feel like the books are high-quality enough or worth publishing, then I won’t.

So yeah, getting those two books out by the end of the year are my short-term goals.  Lately, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about long-term goals.  It used to be those long-term goals that drove me, but lately life has been so busy that I’ve only had time to really think about the short-term.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s good to have both short and long-term goals.  Those long-term goals, I think, inspire short-term goals.  For example, my desire to succeed as an adult drove me to try my hardest in school.  Well, high school anyway.  By the time I got to college and grad school, I really just wanted to graduate.  Even then, however, my hopes and dreams for the future continued to drive me.

I know I’ve shared my Bucket List of things I’ve already done (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/extraordinary/).  I did that because, even though I think it’s wonderful and good to have dreams of the future, it’s also a good idea to acknowledge the good things that have already happened in life.  Counting your blessings, as it were.  However, I don’t think I’ve posted my actual Bucket List here, my dreams of what I hope my life will be.  Maybe I haven’t shared them because I’m afraid they won’t come true.  I’m not sure.  Whatever, the reason, these aren’t all of my goals, just a few of them.

1) Travel.  My dream destinations are: Australia, New Zealand, North Carolina, Alaska, back to Scotland, New England, London, and Paris.

2) Become a NYT bestselling author by the time I’m 30.

3) Renovate my parents’ house.

4) Do something good for homeless animals and endangered species around the world and work with a marine mammal/sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center.

5) Own a beach house.

I have several other smaller specific ones, such as celebrate Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts and go see a movie at the drive-in (I can’t believe I still haven’t done that one).  But I think those five I listed are the ones I dream about the most.

What do y’all dream about?

Things to do in 2015

I like making lists.  Maybe it’s a writer thing.  Maybe it’s a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder thing.  Every week I make a new List of Things I Need to do this Week.  They prove to be quite useful and when I have them all written down for me to see, it makes it easier for me to get them done.  On the other hand, there are some lists that should not be made, such as What I Want in a Boyfriend.  Because guess what?  One day you meet a person who meets all your criteria exactly and they’re not at all right for you.  But I digress.

As 2015 is still relatively new (9 whole days), I’ve been thinking about all I want to do this year.  Of course, writing and publishing new books are a given.  But I’d also like to try some new things.  I’m not talking about things like giving up chocolate (that is NEVER gonna happen) or vowing to exercise every single day (I have commitment issues), but stuff like make a smoothie all by myself.  You know, little things like that.  So, without further ado, here is my 2015 To-Do List

* Finish and publish 3rd Cemetery Tours book

* Publish Boy Band (I’ve actually already finished writing it)

* Visit San Diego with my sister

* Make strawberry sorbet

* Go on at least three urban exploration adventures

* Complete my family history scrapbook

* Visit a wildlife sanctuary

* North Texas Book Festival

* AuthorFest

* READ! Read a LOT!

* Do more good

* See the new Cinderella movie

I’m sure there are more, so for now, this is a work in progress.  What are your plans for 2015?

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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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!

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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.

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Cemetery Tours has also reached over 500 likes on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/CemeteryTours

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.

https://www.facebook.com/events/793721513991057/

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?

What If

Last night, I read through the books I checked out on query letters.  Apparently, this was a mistake on my part.  Instead of feeling uplifted and optimistic about the next few steps I’m to take if I want to get published, I began feeling small, scared, and a little hopeless.  I had all the normal doubts running through my mind, accompanied by some new ones.

What if no one likes my manuscript?

What if no one even asks to see my manuscript?

What if my query letter makes me sound stupid?  Or ditzy?  Or desperate?  

What if I send my query letter to all the wrong agents?

What if someone else writes and publishes all my exact ideas before I get the chance?

What if, what if, what if…

I’ll be the first to admit I overanalyze things.  I think that comes with being a writer.  Not only are writers excruciatingly self-aware, we also have to know how other people might react to certain situations in order to create believable scenarios in our writing.  There is a lot of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes when you’re a writer.  At times, it’s great.  I usually always know how to respond in certain social situations, I can usually see from someone else’s perspective, and I like to think it keeps me pretty open minded.  On the other hand, all these stupid “what-if” scenarios, from best-case to worst-possible, are constantly swimming around in my mind.  It’s a nightmare.  Especially when the worst-cases are the ones that keep screaming in my ear, totally drowning out the part of me who just wants to be optimistic and hopeful and happy.  

It’s not a bad thing to be realistic.  I know how hard it is to break into this business.  I know I will have to be patient, determined, understanding, and 110% dedicated to what I am hoping to accomplish, and I am willing to be just that.  I am more than prepared to do whatever it takes to make this happen.  I just have to keep reminding myself that this road I have chosen will not be an easy one.  And that’s okay.  It’s not supposed to be easy.  I think a lot of times, it’s just so much easier to dwell on the negative and feel sorry for ourselves than it is to embrace the positive and push ourselves to keep working toward our goals, no matter how much time it will take, and no matter how many odds you have stacked against you.  I’m going to try to remember this as I await critiques from my friends and start reading up on copyrighting!  Won’t that be fun!

Until next time!