Spring Has Sprung

Hello, friends.  I’m sorry I haven’t been updating as much as I should.  Life, as usual, is quite busy.  My sister is home for spring break so I’ve been spending as much time with her as I can.  We went to see the stage production of The Little Mermaid on Sunday and once again, I cried my eyes out because Ariel is my childhood hero.  Then yesterday, we spent the morning at the Arboretum.

It was a beautiful day and the best way to welcome spring.

As for book updates, I’m having so much fun writing the third book in the Boy Band series.  I think it’s going to be my favorite.  I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

I’m also helping my cousin (whom I only recently connected with on Facebook) publish her book of poetry/memoir.

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The photo on the cover is hers as well.  It’s been a new experience.  This is the first time I will have published a book that is not my own.  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to publish it so that the royalties go directly to her.  I think I’ve finally got it all sorted, but it’s been a challenge.

Of course, I’m hoping to one day get to the point where I publish a LOT of books, not just my own and my family members, and I’ve had some requests.  The thing is, I can’t work for free.  With Margaret, it’s different since she’s family.  Even still, I don’t want to be a pay-to-publish company, or a vanity press, if you will.  I want my authors to get paid.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the sort of money that would allow me to make an offer or a payment up front.  I think the best way to do it would be to publish and keep 25% of the royalties while the other 75% go to the author.  But that’s not going to happen for a while.  I’m still trying to make a name for myself as an author.  That’s my ultimate dream.

On the other hand, I am very seriously considering offering my services as a cover designer.  I have thousands of images that would work for book covers (NOT stock images) and it’s something I really and truly enjoy.

What do y’all think?

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Indie Books and POGs

Last night, I found my old POG collection.  If you grew up in the 90s, chances are you also collected the little round pieces of cardboard that were apparently meant to be a game but really ended up just being shiny little circles we accumulated and hoarded like Smaug’s treasure in The Hobbit.

As I was looking through my old POGs, I noticed one had a ghost on it.  I thought, “Oh, that’s cute.  I should take a picture of it with Cemetery Tours.”

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So I did.

But I didn’t stop there.

Slowly but surely, my little idea to take a picture with the ghost POG became a full fledged POG and indie book photo shoot.

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken pictures of several (not all) of the indie books I own.  I have a whole photo album that I’ve dedicated to the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement on my Facebook page.

#IndieBooksBeSeen

There is a rhyme and reason to my madness.  Despite the fact that we call ourselves “Independent” authors, the truth is we are very much a community.  No one works alone.  We have editors and graphic designers and reviewers and marketing experts.  And we have each other.  As independent authors, we support each other 100%.  That’s one of the first things I learned about the community and one of my very favorite parts of being an independent author.  I never expected the warm reception or astounding support system when I first published Cemetery Tours, but it’s there.  And it’s so, so, so amazing.

There are several ways that authors support each other.  I have friends who Tweet and Retweet.  I have friends who share dozens of Facebook posts.  I have friends who review every book they read.  Me?  I definitely try to review at least every indie book I read.  But I like to take pictures.  It’s my favorite method of communication.  Funny, for a writer, I know.  But there’s a certain love to a beautiful image that words really can’t express.

I take pictures because these books need more exposure.  I want each and every one of these authors to know the same kind of love and praise and success that their traditionally published counterparts experience.  I want them to be interviewed and reviewed by Entertainment Weekly and fly to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List.  I want independent books to become mainstream.  And I think they are well on their way.

 

 

Texas Renaissance Festival

Alright, here we go!  Pictures from this past weekend at Texas Renaissance Festival.  The theme for the weekend was All Hallow’s Eve, so my friend and fellow author, James William Peercy, invited me down to sell a few ghost stories.  I am so grateful to him and his beautiful wife, Claudette for taking me under their wings.  They are just the most amazing, wonderful, selfless people you could ever hope to meet and James’ books, The Wall Outside series, are just so beautiful and magical.  If you enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend you check out his work.

http://jameswilliampeercy.com

Although I can do things all by myself, I always prefer not to.  Besides, weekend excursions to Renaissance festivals are always so much more fun with friends.  So I took my trusty house elves, Kat and Rachel (Rat) to help me out.

Before we reached the festival, we made a quick stop at this cool, old, haunted town called Anderson.

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After we arrived at the Festival (OMG it was so muddy), we unloaded all the books from the car and then set out to explore the grounds.  Naturally, we first found ourselves in the Enchanted Forest.

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The rest of the grounds were equally beautiful.

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And the arts and crafts were absolutely breathtaking.

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Oh, and there were books too.

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I also had to get my picture taken with my Great-Great-Great-Great several times over Grandfather, Robert the Bruce.

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But I think my favorite new friends that I made were Pip and Owlbus Dumbledore.

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How did you spend your Halloween?

Inside Out

Last week, my sister and I went to see the latest Disney/Pixar production, Inside Out.  If, by some chance, you haven’t heard of it, it’s a delightful and colorful animated feature about five of our basic emotions: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I would think of it, but as I heard more and more people talk about the great discussions and lines of communication, particularly about mental illness, that it opened up, I found myself eager to see it.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Inside Out teaches the valuable lesson that while you always want your loved ones, and yourself, to be happy, it’s okay, and even healthy, to feel sadness.  You should never keep your emotions pent up inside you.  You need all of them.

My favorite element of Inside Out, however, were the Islands of Personality.  For example, Riley, the girl in whose head the whole movie is centered, has a Hockey Island, a Friendship Island, a Family Island, etc…  As my sister and I drove home from the theater that night, we got to thinking about what our own Islands of Personality might be.

Of course, there are the obvious ones like Family and Friends.  And Pets!  I know I have a Pet Island in there somewhere.  My life revolves far too much around loving my cat and hoping for parakeets not to have a Pet Island.  Family is obviously the most important of the Islands.  I’d do anything for my parents and my sister and I know they’d do anything for me.  That goes for my friends as well.

I definitely have a Book Island.  This Island includes books that I’ve read, books that I’ve written, and books that I have yet to write.  Let’s face it, a good deal of my life is dedicated to reading and writing books.  And I love it.  I love it so, so, so much.

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There’s also most certainly a Photography Island.  Besides writing, photography is my other great love.  As any of my friends will tell you, I am addicted to all forms of photography, from professional to Instagram.  I love capturing moments and I love sharing the world as seen through the lens.

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Right next door to Photography Island is Exploration, Nature, and Adventure Island.  These Islands, like the others, are fairly self-explanatory.  I love being outside and exploring and traveling and experiencing new things and seeing new places.  I live for moments spent hiking beneath the trees, stargazing, and swimming in the ocean.  I would love to be known as a NYT Bestselling Author, but I would also love to be known as an explorer and adventurer.

Finally, there’s Fantasy Island.  I’m a daydreamer.  I think about the future far more than I dwell on the past (which is saying something, because I have been known to be a dweller).  Fantasy Island is also home to Mystery City, which includes a fascination with things that can’t be explained.  I love the idea that we don’t have everything figured out yet.  I love that we, as a human race, still have things that we have yet to learn and discover.  I love the idea of being curious and being thrilled and being absolutely blown away by things that we can’t even begin to fathom.

I’m sure there are others too, but I think those are my most dominant personality Islands.  What are yours?

A Few Photos

So, I had a long-winded post planned out about the new Princess Diaries movie and why Michael Moscovitz needs to return and sweep Mia off her feet and marry her because he is her one true love and Chris Pine, while very, very hot, is simply not in the books.  Anyone who’s read the books knows that Mia belongs with the dreamy, intelligent, witty, medical entrepreneur that is Michael Moscovitz.  Mia and anyone else, even someone as aesthetically pleasing as Chris Pine, is just wrong.

But I’m feeling a bit lazy on a Friday night, so instead I’ll leave my argument at that and instead, share some new pictures I took yesterday at a nature reserve.

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I also found a baby grasshopper and spider in my sunflower garden.

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Thank God for the Dreams

That didn’t come true.

That sounds weird, right?  But in college, I had a very, very different life planned out for myself.  I didn’t have any dreams of being a writer.  I had no intention of getting my Master’s degree or starting up my own company.  And I certainly never expected to find myself working at a summer camp.  My dreams were way different, and if they had come true, I don’t think I’d have anything that I have today that is worth having.

I think there are experiences you’re supposed to have and people that are destined to be in your life.  I believe that because I wouldn’t know three of my very best friends had my high school dreams come true, or had I not received a flyer in the mail about a small summer camp up at Lake Texoma.  How weird is that?  To think that that one little piece of paper kind of altered my destiny?  It was a total whim, applying for a lifeguard/counselor’s position up there.  But I did and I got the job.  And because of that one little whim, that one little slip of destiny, I got to spend yesterday hiking with these lovely people (and puppies).

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Every time I’m around them, I can’t help but think about how happy I am that I took that chance, followed that whim.  We’re supposed to be in each others’ lives.  That’s all there is to it.  And that’s an awesome feeling.

I love having them, too, because we all enjoy spending time in beautiful places such as this… Straight out of a fairy tale.

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Authorfest 2015

This weekend was incredible.  I was thrilled to be able to participate in the second annual Authorfest in one of my favorite small towns, Denison, Texas.  As a writer, I believe that words are all powerful, but as a photographer, I believe that pictures are worth at least a thousand words.  So here they are.

First, some scenic shots of Downtown Denison.

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Preparing for dinner and a reading at Devoli’s!  It also happens to be part of my favorite winery, Homestead.

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Photograph courtesy of Tim Malek Photography. http://www.TimMalek.com

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Photograph courtesy of Tim Malek Photography. http://www.TimMalek.com

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Usually, I prefer red wine, but this Orange Muscat may have converted me.

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That night, there was another raffle drawing.  I swear to y’all, I have the BEST luck at these things.

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And, of course, there were plenty of books to go around.

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I also got to meet the cutest puppy ever.

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And I spent all the money I earned on wine and new old books including a lot of vintage Stephen King and an old copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

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Thank you to everyone who made this weekend such and amazing experience.  Thank you especially to James and Claudette Peercy, who organized and made the entire event possible!

You can find James and his wonderful books here: http://www.jameswilliampeercy.com

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Musings

It’s one of those days where I have like, a bajillion errands to run, so this blog post is just going to consist of all the thoughts stomping around inside my head.  I’m writing this in the hopes that getting it all out on paper (or you know, on a computer screen) will alleviate a bit of the ruckus in my brain.  So here it goes.

1) It has been brought to my attention that the Kindle copies of Boy Band had some formatting errors.  I did some research on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and found out this is a rather common problem, so I went back and uploaded the manuscript myself.  Hopefully the errors will be gone, or at least less severe.  I remember having similar spacing issues when I published Cemetery Tours.

2) I have a lot of fun events coming up!  On Saturday, I’m going to see my friend Paula speak at a writer’s group.  I know I’ve mentioned her before, but she’s just published her first children’s book, Jack Learns to Grill, and her next book, Jack Learns about Bullies, should be out within the next month or so!

https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

3) Also on Saturday, I’ve been asked to be a guest at the Colony Library’s Friends of the Library Annual Meeting!  I’m so excited and so honored that they would ask!  I love that library.  It’s a wonderful community and so supportive of local authors.

4) Next week is Authorfest in Denison!  I’m a little nervous about it since my Dad won’t be able to attend and it’s a pretty big event, but I think I’ll be able to handle it.  I’m a strong independent woman who don’t need no man.

(I do need a cat, though.  I don’t think I could survive without a cat).

5) I need books.  Lots of books.

6) Sunday I’m going to Scarborough Faire!  Yay!

7) It’s World Book Day!  Yay!

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8) Speaking of books, Boy Band has been selling like crazy!  It’s been in the top 15,000 Kindle Bestsellers for three days now, and for a while, was in the top 10,000!  Thank you all to everyone who’s read it so far!  I love you more than words can say!

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

And did I mention it’s only $2.99?

9) Yesterday was Earth Day!  Happy belated Earth Day, everyone!

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10) Lately, I’ve been so inspired to work on the third Cemetery Tours book.  I think taking a break from it and focusing on Boy Band for a bit was really good for me.  I miss my characters and I’ve got a lot of new songs that are providing inspiration for my haunted world.  I can’t wait to get back at it!

For now, however, I need to go pick up my dad.  Since he has a hole in his retina, he’s not allowed to drive.  The eye doctor was SHOCKED that he’d been driving this whole time!

Hope y’all have a great Thursday!  It’s going to be an awesome weekend!

Red and Blue and Green

Despite my love for reading and writing, I am truly an outdoors girl at heart.  Given the choice between staying in or going out and hiking or kayaking or simply just being in nature, I will choose outside every time.  Yesterday, I took a day off from the writer thing and spent time with two of my best friends enjoying the springtime sun and beautiful nature of the great state of Texas.

Here are some of the pictures.

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In book related news, remember there are only a few days left to enter my GoodReads Giveaway! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

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Don’t pass this up!  Spread the word!

Also, The North Texas Book Festival added pictures of all the authors at their booths.  Everyone is smiling and posing all professionally with their books.

And then there’s me.

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Maybe next year I’ll learn to be socially acceptable.

Much love, y’all!