Kindle Unlimited

As an author, I’ve never been all that sure how to feel about Kindle Unlimited.  I’ve heard mixed reviews.  Some authors love it and think that the pay-off is great.  Others think it is Internet robbery and claim that their sales and royalties have taken a major hit.  I didn’t have any books enrolled in KU, so I had no idea if or how it would affect me.  I chose to keep it that way.

Then I published the Cemetery Tours Series Box Set.  The set includes the first three books in the Cemetery Tours Series: Cemetery Tours, Between Worlds, and After Death.

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I knew I was only going to post it to Kindle.  I haven’t had a whole lot of luck formatting for Nook and sales haven’t been at all good enough to make the effort worth it.  So I uploaded the box set exclusively to Kindle.

Yesterday, on a complete and total whim, I thought, “You know… I’m going to give Kindle Unlimited a shot.”  At this point in the game, I’m curious.  It will be a learning experience if nothing else.  It’s not permanent.  It’s only for six months.  If I decide I don’t like it or that it’s not worth it, then I simply won’t re-enroll.

However, for the time being, the Cemetery Tours Series box set IS available on Kindle Unlimited.  That means that if you have a subscription, you can read ALL THREE novels in the series for FREE.  It’s over 700 pages, but then again, it’s three books.  It should be a bit lengthy.

Read the Cemetery Tours Series for FREE!

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So if you have Kindle Unlimited, hop on over and download the Cemetery Tours Series.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.

In other exciting news, the new Lurking Anthology, Lurking in the Shadows, has an official release date!  It will be available on June 28, 2016!  We don’t have a cover just yet, but I’m super excited about this anthology.  My contribution, An Empty Building, is by far the darkest thing I’ve ever written.  I had to write it in short increments in order to keep my own sanity.

Have a happy Thursday, y’all!  Keep reading!  Keep writing!

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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?

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?

My Back-Up Plan

When I first decided that I wanted to become an author, I had countless people ask me what my back-up plan was.  My answer was simply, “I don’t know,” because I knew they wouldn’t like the real answer, which was, “I don’t believe in back-up plans.”

It sounds pretentious, but hear me out.  At the time, I believed that having a back-up plan meant, on some level, that I believed that I would need one.  That somehow, I was conceding that failure was an option.  When you dive into something not knowing what the heck you’re doing, you’ve already got enough fear and insecurity and self-doubt to last you a lifetime.  The last thing you should be thinking is, “This might not work out.”  It’s true, it might not work out, but that isn’t what you need to be focused on.  Instead, you need to focus all of your energy on achieving your goal, whatever that may be.

My goal for the past few years as been to become a NYT Bestselling Author by the time I’m 30.  As I round the corner to 28, that self-imposed deadline is fast approaching.  There is a very real possibility that that won’t happen.  But I also believe (perhaps foolishly) that there is a possibility that it will.  If it doesn’t, I’m not going to give up writing.  I don’t think I can give up writing.  It’s too much a part of who I am.  I did, however, comprise a list of potential occupations in which I can see myself should the writing thing just not work out.

Paranormal Investigator

You all had to know this was coming.  After all, I wrote a book called Cemetery Tours.  I would love to make visiting haunted locations part of my routine anyway.  Time, unfortunately, always seems to get away from me.

Travel Writer

This would be my ideal career, getting to see new places and writing about the experience.  Heck, I think that would be everyone’s ideal career.

Wildlife Photographer

I’m addicted to my camera.  I think everyone knows this.

Princess

This one sounds ridiculous, I know.  But if this one TLC show is to be taken seriously, all you have to do to become a sovereign is take out an ad in the London Gazette and have a royal ancestor.  I’m a granddaughter of Robert the Bruce.  Where’s my tiara?

Pet Foster Mom

I would love to take in unloved, abandoned, special needs animals.  However, I have a spoiled rotten three-legged black cat who would probably disown me if I were to bring any other pets into her domain.  This is something that I will eventually pursue no matter what.  Of course, it might be a bad idea since I’ll get so attached to them that I’ll just end up keeping every single one.

Cover Designer

I’ve been getting in a lot of experience designing book covers and it’s actually something I really enjoy.

Publisher

Wait a minute.  Now we’re getting into very familiar territory….

Author

I think, at the end of the day, I know I’m right where I need to be.  This is a perfect fit for me.  It always has been, ever since I was little.  I love writing books.  I love everything about it.  It’s my dream come true.  And I hope and pray every day that I’ll be able to pursue my passion for the rest of my life.

Love you all.

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Happy Bookday!

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

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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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Of Scary Stories and Reviews

This week isn’t even half over yet and already, it’s been kind of crazy.  Before it ends, it’s going to get a lot crazier.  I have like, a million things I need to remember to do and unfortunately, I’ve been sick for the last two days which means all I want to do is lie on the couch in my sweatpants and read.  Granted, that’s what I do a lot of the time anyway, but with less than a week before my next book comes and with more than a few book events and speaking engagements on the horizon, not to mention a meeting tonight at church and cat-sitting, I don’t have time to be sick and feel sorry for myself.

Then, of course, there are the new stories that I’m continuing to work on for the rest of the month.  One, of course, is the sequel to Backstage.  That one is just pure fun.  I seriously love writing YA.  I love writing ghost stories too, but they require a certain level of depth and emotion, and it can be draining to pour all that heavy onto the page.  Stories about boy bands however?  Pure fluff.

The second story is for the second book in the Lurking Anthology series called Lurking in the Shadows. I can’t give you too many details about the story itself, but I can tell you it is by far the darkest thing I’ve ever written.  It makes Cemetery Tours look like The Princess Diaries.  I’ve got to be honest, I’m really hoping I’m not inviting in any dark energy or anything by writing this.  I’ll make sure to keep my Bible on hand.

Speaking of Cemetery Tours, as I was writing this, a package arrived on my doorstep…

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After Death, the third book in the Cemetery Tours series, is here!  And it looks amazing!  I’m so, so, so excited!  I can’t wait to share it with all of you next Tuesday!  It’s kind of weird to think I’ve officially written a trilogy.  Of course, it won’t be a trilogy for long.  There are two more books coming!

Finally, I’ve been making a point to read and review the stack of books I’ve had sitting by my bedside for forever.  I’ve been making progress.  One book, Moon Tears by M. M. Frische, I really enjoyed. Well-written, historical fiction about the author’s cousin, I highly recommend it.

I’ve read a few other books, however, that I can’t say I enjoyed, or even finished.  I always feel so guilty when I don’t like a book.  It sounds weird, right?  I never feel guilty not liking a song or a movie, but when it’s a book, I almost feel like it’s personal.  Maybe it’s because I’m an author myself.  I don’t know.  I especially feel guilty when I’ve met the author in person.  Now, I’m not going to say which books I didn’t like.  I don’t want to do that to a fellow writer.  If I don’t like a book, I simply won’t write a review.  And maybe that’s wrong.  Maybe a lousy review is better than no review at all.  But I almost feel like I owe it to the author to give them a good review, just because I know how much time and effort and love they put into a story.  Even though, on the flip side, I know I owe it to fellow readers and reviewers to be totally honest in my recommendation.

Anyway, I suppose I better be off!  I’ll talk to y’all soon!  Keep reading, keep writing!

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