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:

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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/

Sorting Characters

Alright, this post is definitely more work-related that my last one full of trees and whimsy.

Every once in a while, whenever my sister and I are feeling particularly nostalgic for our days at Hogwarts, we make a list of all our favorite fictional characters and sort them into one of the four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw (the best!), or Slytherin.  As I was driving around the other day, I thought, “Hey… I should sort MY characters!”

I consulted my sister on the matter, since she’s an even bigger Potterhead than I am (and yes, I do admit that).  Taking her opinions into consideration, this is the Sorting Selection that I’ve come up with.  Enjoy.

CEMETERY TOURS SERIES

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Michael SinclarSelf-Imposed Slytherin

Okay, I know this sounds weird.  Hear me out.  Originally, my sister thought I should sort Michael into either Gryffindor or Hufflepuff.  The problem is, I don’t see Michael as particularly brave.  He’s also gone out of his way his entire life to manipulate people into believing he’s something he’s not.  He himself has been hiding from his true nature.  Furthermore, even though I don’t believe he’s dark or troublesome, he definitely sees himself that way.  I think Luke would see him as a Hufflepuff, and Kate would most certainly see him as a Gryffindor, but I think Michael himself views himself as a Slytherin.  Not because he’s particularly ambitious or cunning, but because, frankly, he’s haunted, and he has never seen himself in a positive light.

Kate AveryRavenclaw

I was torn for a while between sorting Kate into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw.  I was leaning toward Gryffindor at first because she’s so outgoing and up for new adventures, but then when my sister said she should be in Ravenclaw I realized that really is where Kate belongs.  She’s very creative, which is a defining trait of Ravenclaws.  She’s also cautious and she definitely tends to over-analyze things.  She’s clever, but thankfully, she’s not snooty about it.  Ravenclaw is definitely the place for Kate.

Luke Rainer: Gryffindor

Again, I debated for a while if Luke was going to be a Gryffindor or a Slytherin.  Although he comes off as ambitious, the truth is, he’s actually not.  He’s just very passionate.  He even admits in the first book that he doesn’t care about success or ratings.  He just wants people to know the truth about the afterlife and the paranormal.  Luke is brave, probably to the point of being reckless, and incredibly loyal to the people he loves.  He most certainly belongs in Gryffindor.

Eugene Brinkley (Brink): Hufflepuff

There’s no way Brink would ever be anything other than a Hufflepuff.  He’s just there for a good time.  He’s funny, he’s light-hearted, he’s easy-going.  He’s alway honest.  He’s a great friend.

Gavin Avery: Gryffindor

Gavin was hard to place.  Originally, my sister and I both thought he might be a Slytherin, but then we kind of realized that he’s not cunning or ambitious in the least.  He, like Brink, is kind of just there for a good time.  Gavin grew up, as Kate puts is, as the “golden boy” of the family.  He never got in trouble, always got good grades, but as he got older, I think he turned into a bit of a rebel.  Gryffindor seems to suit him.

BOY BAND

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Melissa Parker (Mel): Hufflepuff

Mel, to me, has always been a Hufflepuff.  She’s friendly, she’s very go-with-the-flow, she’s innocent, almost to the point of being a little naive, but she’s incredibly loyal to her friends.  She’s not one for picking fights or drama.  She knows who she loves and she tries her best to stand up for them, even though any sort of confrontation I think really goes against her nature.  She’s happy to be behind the scenes.  She’s very much an observer, and she’s also “unafraid of toil.”  Classic Hufflepuff.

Sam MorneauGryffindor

At the very beginning, Sam was one of the members of the band who believed that The Kind of September could make it.  I think he probably believed it more than anyone else, and he was the one really determined to make it happen.  He’s willing to take chances and risk it all, and I think he’s actually quite brave for it.  He’s loud and happy and outgoing, and though he does have a thoughtful side, he’s not really one to think before he leaps.  He just dives into whatever he does, no questions asked.

Josh Cahill: Hufflepuff

Josh is kind of like Brink in the sense that he’s just there to have fun.  He’s always cheerful, he’s sweet and unassuming, he’s goofy and hilarious.  He doesn’t like drama and never goes looking for trouble.  Josh is a most certainly a Hufflepuff.

Joni ForemanSlytherin

Even though she’s not even a member of the band, Joni is definitely the most ambitious of the entire group.  She’s very career and goal-oriented.  It takes a while to get her to open up.  Even her best friend, Mel, admits that she’s not much of a hugger and very rarely shows her soft side.  After having her heart broken at a young age, Joni is very guarded with her emotions, almost to the point of being a little cold and withdrawn.  She’s incredibly smart and all of her friends know that it’s never a good idea getting on her bad side.

Cory Foreman: Gryffindor

Joni’s twin brother Cory is a Gryffindor.  Although he was a good student, he’s not nearly as smart or as ambitious as his sister.  He’s usually very level-headed, but his relationship with Tara Meeks has made him a bit love-crazy.  Infatuation, unfortunately, happens to the best of us.  And Gryffindor Cory Foreman is no exception.

Oliver Berkley: Ravenclaw

Sweet, thoughtful, and a little reserved, The Kind of September’s token Brit is also the group’s only Ravenclaw.  Oliver is mature, introverted, clever, and witty when he wants to be.  He’s also harboring a secret crush, but despite being a member of the hottest boy band on the planet, he’s too shy to tell her.

Jesse Scott: Slytherin

Jesse is the group’s resident rock-and-roll bad boy, even though he’s not actually very good at it.  He loves animals and is very active in the charities that he supports.  Despite his heart of mostly gold, however, Jesse is still a Slytherin.  You never really know his motives for anything and more often than not, you only see what he wants you to see.  He’s a bit more cunning than he lets on and he values his freedom and independence above anything else, and he very rarely lets anything stand in the way of what he wants.

Back to Business

After an extremely busy weekend of work and play (though admittedly, I felt it was more play), it is time to get back down to the daily grind.  Of course, for the self-employed author, the daily grind is actually quite enjoyable, so I’m not complaining.  Still, I’ve kind of been in Self-Congratulatory-Fun mode since Comic Con ended and I need to get back to my Okay-You-Are-Building-Your-Future-You-Need-To-Be-Serious-And-Stay-Focused mode.

And even as I’m writing this, I just took a break to go buy “Cups” on iTune.  Focus, Jackie, focus!

Okay, so what do I need to focus on, exactly?  That’s a good question. The two big ones are

1) My signing at Half-Price Books on June 24.

Originally, I had thought that my signing on June 24 would just be for Boy Band, but Half-Price has since contacted me and asked if I would bring all three books!  Of course, I am more than happy to do so.  I need to get to ordering those books, however.  I also need to restock on all my fun giveaway stuff, like postcards and bookmarks.  Comic Con kind of wiped me clean (which is a good thing!).  But I need to stay on top of all that.

2) Cemetery Tours 3.

As I told everyone at Comic Con, I plan on releasing the third Cemetery Tours late September-early October, just in time for Halloween!  That means I have a LOT of work to do between now and then.  I know where the book is going to go, but I am also going back and re-writing and thanks to events and a lot of weird life things, I’m afraid I’ve fallen a bit behind.  June is going to be my catch-up month. I do have a teaser board up and going on Pinterest, if you’d like to check it out and see what may or may not be in store for our haunted heroes (OMG that sounded so cheesy… I apologize): https://www.pinterest.com/windtrailpub/teaser-board-cemetery-tours-3/

I’m especially eager to get back to work on my Cemetery Tours series because of all the enthusiastic feedback I’ve gotten from readers, especially those I’ve met at recent book events and fellow authors. Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.21.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.21.14 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.20.53 PM

So much love!

I’ve also been playing around with the idea of redesigning the covers to the series.  I love the covers I have now, masterfully created by graphic designer Benjamin Durham, but the thing is, I used ShutterStock images.  After designing the cover to Boy Band, I’m realizing that I think I prefer using my own images.  I don’t have to pay for rights and there’s no limits on how I use that image.  So, that’s something else to think about.  If you have copies of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds now, congratulations! You might have limited first edition covers!

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Love to all!

Character Interview: Eugene Brinkley AKA Brink

Okay, this is the interview that everyone has been waiting for.  The interview conducted by everyone’s favorite character.

Brink.

I had a lot of fun with Luke Rainer’s interview a few weeks ago (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/character-interview-luke-rainer/) but I think everyone (myself included) has really been looking forward to this one.

So, without further ado, here we go.

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Jackie Smith (JS):  Hi, Brink!

Eugene Brinkley (EB):  Hi, person who controls my entire life.  Or should I say death.

JS:  Yeah, sorry about that.

EB:  It’s okay. I’m kind of used to it by now. Though I do wish I could change clothes. I’ve been stuck in the same outfit since 1992.

JS:  Again, sorry about that.  But if it makes you feel better, I think you look pretty snazzy.

EB:  Oh, there’s no question.  I’m just not really a one-outfit kind of guy.  I like to change things up.  I’m a fan of self-expression.

JS:  That’s something I love about you.

EB:  Me too.

JS:  So what questions do you have for me?

EB:  I guess for starters, why am I so 1990s?  I mean, I’m not complaining.  But I feel like you made me out to be the ghostly embodiment of 90s pop culture.

JS:  That’s because the 90s were the best time to be alive!

EB:  … And I was dead for most of them.

JS:  Oh right.  Oops.

EB:  That’s okay.  Being everyone’s favorite makes up for it.  Plus I can walk through walls.

JS:  That’s another reason I like you.  You have such a positive outlook on everything.

EB:  What can I say?  I’m an optimist.  But I do want to know, are we every going to find out more about me?  You know, other than the fact that I was a dumb kid who went skateboarding without a helmet?

JS:  You’ll have to read the third book!

EB:  Great.  When’s that coming out?

JS:  Uhh…

EB:  Okay, fine, you don’t have to answer.  But you’ve at least finished writing it, right?

JS:  Uhh…

EB:  Are you kidding?  How long are you going to make the world wait before you bless them with more Brink?

JS:  Hey!  I’ve been busy!

EB:  Too busy for ME?

JS:  Never!  I’m just spreading my wings a little, you know?  I still love you the best.

EB:  Promise?

JS:  I promise.

EB:  One last question. I know that I’m everyone’s favorite… I mean why wouldn’t I be?

JS:  So humble.

EB:  What’s that?

JS:  Nothing.

EB:  Anyway, fans are usually super devastated when their favorite character dies, but I’m already dead, right?

JS:  Yeah.

EB:  You’re not going to have me like, move on or anything, are you?

JS:  Why?  Do you want to move on?

EB:  Not really.  It kind of freaks me out.

JS:  I know.  And that’s why you’re sticking around.  For a while, anyway.

EB:  What does THAT mean?!

JS:  Don’t worry.  You’re going to be fine.  No matter what.

EB:  Oh man, you’re going to send me away, aren’t you?

JS:  Brink.  You’re everyone’s favorite.  Do you really think I’d get rid of you?

EB:  I hope not!  But JK Rowling got rid of all your favorite characters!  You complain about it ALL THE TIME.

JS:  And because I know how emotionally scarring that can be, I won’t do it to my readers.  Probably.

EB:  Okay, now you’re just being mean.  You’re teasing me, right?  I know you’re teasing.

JS:  Brink, I promise you, you have nothing to worry about.  I have at least three more books planned.

EB:  And I’m around for all of them, right?

JS:  It wouldn’t be Cemetery Tours without you.

Just Life

Hi, everyone!  First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who kept my family and my dad in your thoughts and prayers yesterday.  He came through his surgery with flying colors and is currently in recovery.

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Now that that’s over with, it’s time to prepare for this weekend!  Friday and Saturday are the 2nd Annual Authorfest in Denison.  Last year was so, so, so much fun and I can’t wait for Friday to finally roll around!

https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/authorfest-in-denison/

Not to mention, I’ve got a lot of brand new books to sell!

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My goal now is to get through this weekend.  It’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to it, but it’s also going to be a lot of work.  It’s funny, a few months ago, life was a bit slow, just kind of going along at its own pace, and now I’m scrambling to keep up!  That’s a good thing.  I’m really, really excited about everything that’s happening and new books and my sister coming home and new adventures and meeting new people.

I’m also thrilled that Boy Band has been on the top 10,000 Kindle Bestsellers list for a whole week!  I don’t normally come out and ask this, but if can sell 28 more copies in the  next week or so, I will have hit a personal milestone.  If you know anyone who likes boy bands, any preteens or teenage girls who like fun, innocent romance, or anyone who just loves to support indies for $2.99, please tell them about my book.  This is the beginning of a huge dream come true, and I can’t thank you all enough.

http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Band-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00WFSE0Z6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429591957&sr=8-2&keywords=boy+band

However, I do warn you that I’ve had a few readers let me know that the Nook book has some wonky formatting issues.  I have sent an email to the NookPress people to find out what the problem is, so until then, I apologize for any reading discomfort or inconsistencies.

On a more positive note, I went back to working on Cemetery Tours 3 last night and I’m just as in love with my characters as I was throughout the first two books.  I can’t wait to finish this one and finally get it out there!  It’s going to be awesome.

Much love, y’all.

North Texas Book Festival

This past weekend, I attended the North Texas Book Festival for the first time.  I had an amazing time.  The location was incredible, the speakers phenomenal, and I met so many wonderful new friends and authors.  That’s my favorite part of these events, meeting new people and finding new books to read!

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To get there on time, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning.  For those who know me, that’s about the time I normally go to sleep.  I actually had my alarm set for about 5:15, but I was too excited to go back to sleep, so before sunrise, my books and I were in the car and ready to go.

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I was also incredibly excited for Boy Band to make it’s pre-release debut!

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The other displays were incredible.

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Perhaps best of all, the festival kept us incredibly well-fed: bagels, Cinnabon, fruit, cake, pizza, Schlotzsky’s… I don’t think I’ve ever been fed that much in my life!

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Thank you for everything, North Texas Book Festival!  I can’t wait until next year!

Oh, and because I know you were all wondering… MY SISTER AND I TOTALLY HAVE FLOOR TICKETS TO ED SHEERAN!!!!!!!!!!

Character Interview: Kate Avery

Continuing on with my character interviews in which my characters interview me, I’d like to welcome Kate Avery to the blog!

If you missed my first interview with Kate’s darling and haunted beau, Michael Sinclair, you can check it out here: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/character-interview-michael-sinclair/

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Jackie Smith (JS):  So Kate, what questions do you have for me?

Kate Avery (KA):  I don’t know.  I’m actually pretty happy with my life.  Although, I am curious.  What’s up with the Color Anomia?  Like, is it actually a real thing?

JS:  Yep.  I looked it up on the internet, and as everyone knows, that means it is definitely a real thing.  However, the site I found said it’s more common in men than in women, but I figured a little artistic license never hurt anyone.

KA:  Interesting.  So, am I gonna have this thing for the rest of my life?

JS:  Yeah.  Sorry.

KA:  That’s okay.  It could be worse.  Though I’ve got to tell you, I am kind of ticked off that you erased all my memories of Europe.

JS:  Again, sorry. But if you wait another book or so, I might make it up to you.

KA:  Is that a spoiler alert?

JS:  Think of it more like a teaser.  Gotta keep readers interested.

KA:  Ah.  Gotcha.  Okay, so tell me more about my background.  Like, why am I the way that I am?

JS:  I really didn’t want you to be a typical damsel in distress heroine, but I also didn’t want you to be the melancholy, special-snowflake girl either.  I wanted you to be a bit of a silly fangirl, but also someone who is strong and independent.  I hope I succeeded.

KA:  I like to think you did.  Those are all good things.

JS:  Thank you.  You’re much more appreciative than your boyfriend.

KA:  Yeah.  He’s really sweet most of the time, but he can also be a bit of a smart aleck.  He’s got a really dry sense of humor.

JS:  I know.  I thought I liked that about him.

KA:  So, can you tell me anything about what’s in store for us in the next book?

JS:  It’s going to be a bit different from the first two books.  It’s less of an adventure and more of what it’s like for the two of you living day-to-day as a couple that is constantly surrounded by ghosts.

KA:  But it’s not going to be boring, right?

JS:  I hope not.

KA:  Well, if it starts going stale, you could always throw in some zombies or aliens.  You could write a new character that looks like Norman Reedus.

JS:  I think you and I have both been watching too much Walking Dead on Netflix.

KA:  Yeah, probably.  But what else have I got to do while you take your time getting this next book out?

JS:  Touche.

Character Interview: Michael Sinclair

Back when I first started writing, to get to know my characters, I would interview them.  I’d make up questions, kind of like a survey, and I’d write out responses as those characters.  This is kind of the same idea, except I thought I’d give my characters a chance to interview me for a change.  Up first, the serie’s underdog hero and reluctant medium, Michael Sinclair.

Note: This shouldn’t contain too many spoilers, but if it does, I apologize.

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Michael Sinclair (MS):  This is kind of weird.

Jackie Smith (JS):  Yeah, I know. Just go with it.

MS:  Okay. Well, I guess I’d have to start this interview off by asking… Why me?

JS:  What do you mean?

MS:  Why won’t you let me catch a break?  Why do you like to torture me?

JS:  I don’t torture you.  You’ve actually got it pretty good compared to a lot of fictional guys out there.

MS:  I see ghosts, I can’t find a job, I get kidnapped, I get tortured, my girlfriend is always ending up in the hospital…  Why can’t you write a book about me where I win the lottery or I take a romantic, ghost-free getaway with Kate to a tropical island?

JS:  Because you don’t play the lottery and neither of you could afford that. Neither could I, for that mat ter.

MS:  Am I ever going to find another job?  Let’s face it, I’m not going to be able to pay rent much longer.

JS:  I have an idea for you.  I think Luke is really going to like it.

MS:  Oh, great. Of course Luke is going to like it.  You like him so much better than me.

JS:  Not true.  If I did, then he would have ended up with Kate.

MS:  Okay then, here’s a real question.  How come I can see ghosts?

JS:  It was a story I always wanted to write, especially after I experienced a loss myself.  I didn’t really know how to characterize you, however, until I started watching Criminal Minds and discovered Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer Reid.  You know that’s who you’re based off of, right?

MS:  Yeah, you remind me all the time.  I think you like him better than me, too.

JS:  Wait a minute, I thought you were supposed to be this super sweet, nerd of my dreams kind of guy. Where is all this sass coming from?

MS:  Don’t ask me.  You wrote me like this.  Speaking of which, did you mean to make me so two-dimensional or is that just part of the protagonist’s curse?

JS:  Why do you think you’re two-dimensional?  You’re not two-dimensional.

MS:  All anyone knows about me is that I see ghosts and I feel sorry for myself.  A lot.  Why didn’t you give me more depth?

JS:  I totally gave you depth.  Your problem is that once you discovered you were the only one seeing these spirits, your entire life began to revolve around making sure no one else figured it out.  It didn’t give you a whole lot of room to branch out, and for that, I’m sorry.

MS:  So, while you were thinking up ways to ruin my life, you never thought to maybe make my power a little more, oh, I don’t know, cool?

JS:  What does that mean?

MS:  I mean, you read all these books and watch these TV shows about mediums who can not only see dead people, but predict the future, time travel, read minds, all that stuff.  How come I can’t do that?  How come I only get the ghosts?

JS:  Because all of that would make these books a lot more complicated.

MS:  Oh, okay.  As long as it makes everything easier for you.

JS:  Seriously, are you always this snarky when I write you?  I thought I gave you a pretty good life.  Cool ghost best friend, cute girlfriend, and at least you’re not like Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.  You don’t see hanging people or kids with their brains blown out.

MS:  I guess I should be thanking you for that.

JS:  You’re welcome.

MS:  I’m still not particularly thrilled with you, though.

JS:  Yeah, I’m sensing that.

MS:  So tell me, are good things ever going to happen to me?

JS:  You are far too melodramatic, you know that?  And I’m not going to tell you if good things will happen or not.  You know I can’t make you any promises.  But if it all works out the way I think it will…  You’ll just have to wait and see.

Haunted Valentines

It’s almost Valentines Day.  Even if you don’t have someone special, it’s still a great holiday.  Well, maybe it’s not that great, but there is a LOT of chocolate, and I’m a big fan of chocolate.

Unfortunately, very few people, if any, associate Valentines Day with ghost stories.  Unless, of course, you’re a Ghost Adventures fan and recall that one Valentines Day episode at the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  That’s one of my favorite episodes, not because that capture any spectacular evidence, but because it’s hilarious.

Anyway, all last week, I was trying to come up with some way to connect Valentines Day and Cemetery Tours.  This is what I came up with.  Yes, this is just for fun.  No, I don’t think I’m clever.

Enjoy!

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Shameless Self-Promotion Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-E.-Smith/e/B00F7BPXX6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1423510266&sr=8-1

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/jacqueline-e.-smith

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7260466.Jacqueline_E_Smith

Hello, 27

Today is my 27th birthday.  As always, I love the fact that it is my birthday.  Everyone is being extra nice to me.  I get presents and food and time with my friends and family.  But 27 is a little intimidating.  Somehow, it feels a lot closer to 30 than 26 did.  Not that that’s a bad thing.  After all, 13 Going on 30 claims that your thirties are the best years of your life.  If that’s the case, bring them on! Still, I feel like I have so much of my 20s left to enjoy.  Thankfully, I have three more years!  But if the last three years are any indication, these next three are just going to fly.

I have several goals for the next three years, but my one real goal, my ultimate goal, is really the one that matters.  That goal is to become a NYT Bestselling Author by the time I turn 30.  That gives me exactly three years.  The good news is that next year is a leap year so you know, one extra day (woo-hoo!).  My other goals are more personal, but that’s the big one.  Until that happens, however, I am going to keep working as hard as I can and enjoying every minute of it.

Oh, and on that note, it’s my birthday.  Go buy my books.

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http://www.amazon.com/Jacqueline-E.-Smith/e/B00F7BPXX6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1421269417&sr=8-1