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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In the City

Hello, friends!  Just a quick update!  I may not have any more deadlines for a while (Yay!) but life is still as busy as ever!

I’ve been enjoying a wonderful few days, celebrating the impending Christmas season with friends and family.

A few of my girlfriends and I had a Christmas crafts night.

Then my mom and my sister and I took a trip downtown to see the world premiere of the opera Becoming Santa Claus.

And life is only going to get busier!  Tonight, my friend and I are taking my sister out to celebrate her birthday.  Tomorrow night, a group of my friends from high school and I are going with our English teacher (our Mr. Feeny, if you will) to see MacBeth.  Thursday night, I’m going to a bachelorette party and Saturday is the wedding!  So much fun and merriment and all the while I keep thinking, “Oh my goodness!  I have to get the new book out!”  Then I remember it’s already out and I think to myself, “Oh, yay!  I love it when that happens!”

The new book is doing great.  And Boy Band is getting some new love because of it!

I’ve had two reviews in the past week that I particularly love.  One is from a new friend down in Mexico named Bryan.  You can check out his review here!

He also took this fabulous picture and I’ve got to be honest, it’s one of my favorite book portraits ever.

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The other is a review I believe I already shared, but I love it so much, I’m just going to share it again.

I love all my readers and reviewers and friends so, so much!  I don’t know if you realize it, but you make so many dreams come true just by doing what you love!  Thank you, thank you!

I hope you all are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.

Fiesta

After a rather busy weekend, it’s time to get back in the swing of things.  Okay, that’s kind of a lie.  Yesterday, I did nothing.  But the day before actually was busy.  Went to support a few friends at a book signing, then a girls’ night complete with wine and Mario Kart.  See, I actually do have a life!

One of the friends I went out to support, Paula Walker Baker, has a new book coming out at the end of the month!  I’m delighted to announce that I will be interviewing her here on my blog within the next week or so, so stay tuned!  In the mean time, stop by and check out her blog: https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

It’s funny.  I met Paula at my camp, the same place I met three of the most important people in my life.  I know I mention my camp a lot, but honestly, that place and those people changed my life.  And it was all because of one postcard in the mail.  One that my friend Terri, one of those people, sent!  Life is amazing.  It’s so weird to think how different my life would be without them.

Anyway, before I dissolve into a sentimental spiral of destiny and fate, let’s try to steer this blog post back to books.  Books!  Yes!  My favorite things!  Books are awesome!  That’s why I’m writing two at the same time!  That, or I’m just crazy!  It’s probably that second one.

In all seriousness though, if Sam Morneau accidentally turns up in the next Cemetery Tours book, I apologize.

Speaking of Sam and The Kind of September, please remember that my Become a Character Raffle and Giveaway is going on until the end of the month!  https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/becomeacharacter/

Finally, I’ve been promising and promising, well now I’m finally delivering!  Here’s the second Boy Band short story!  Again, it hasn’t been professionally edited because my editors are too busy with the next Cemetery Tours book.  Nevertheless, enjoy!

Fiesta

Indie Author Pride Day

Happy July 1, everyone!  In just a few short days, America will be celebrating its independence.  Today, however, those of us in the book industry are celebrating our own independence.

It’s Indie Author Pride Day!

Once upon a time, you had to have a contract and a big publishing house in order to write books for everyone to read.  But now, the dream of becoming a published author is coming true for writers everywhere, and not just those select few.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love those select few and the books that they write.  They’re the ones who inspired me to begin writing in the first place.  Meg Cabot, JK Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Collins… All heroes in my eyes.  But my fellow independent authors, those who go to work for themselves every day, those who make their own dreams come true, they’re my heroes also.

I get asked a lot whether or not I considered traditional publishing.  The answer is, “Yes, of course.”  But ultimately, I decided to go the independent route because I wanted to be in charge of my own work, my own deadlines.  I also knew that if I didn’t love and believe in my books enough to give them 110%, then why should I expect anyone else to?

I love my life as an independent author.  I love that I get to write the books I want to read.  I also love that I get to help and encourage other aspiring authors to make their dreams come true.  I love this community.  Everyone is kind and accepting and supportive.  I can’t imagine a better workplace environment than the one I find amongst the independent authors.

Finally, and this might seem a little self-congratulatory, but I’m proud of myself and I’m so very proud of my books.  I’m proud of all the things I didn’t know that I would or could do.  I’m proud that I believed in myself enough to take the chance, and I’m eternally grateful to my loved ones who believed in me and supported me when they really had no reason to.  In fact, they probably shouldn’t have.  I hope everyday that I make them proud, especially my family.  I hope I make their love and support worth their while.  I hope I prove I’m worthy of that support.

I love you all.  I’m so proud of all you, writers, photographers, dreamers, readers… Your futures are so bright!

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Words, Words, Words

I remember in one of my grad school writing classes, one of the guest speakers told us, “One of the most difficult things that you will ever do as a writer is scrap and entire novel and start from scratch.  And you will do it.”  I’m here to tell you today it’s actually not that bad.

Is it time-consuming?  Yes.

Is it a hard decision to make?  Somewhat.

Is it worth it?  Oh my goodness, yes.

I got to the seventeenth chapter of the new Cemetery Tours before I was finally able to admit that I wasn’t happy with it.  I tried to deny it for a while, tried to convince myself that I could write through it.  But the story was going around in circles.  It was all discussion and no action.  Worst of all, the plot was very thin and barely there.  I knew I needed to change something or else there was no way it would measure up to the first two.

Making the decision to completely rewrite has been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made.  I’m SO much happier with the story now.  It’s less convoluted and far more interesting.  It’s holding my attention better, which is a necessity.  If you can’t get into your own story, then you know you’ve got a problem.  Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes it is really hard to acknowledge that you’ve got seventeen chapters of nothing, but in the long run, it was the best thing I could have done for my stories, for my characters, and for my readers.  I want to give them the best books that I can.  I would never publish a book that I was even a little unsure of.  I have to believe in a book.  I have to love it.  I have to know it’s my best work.  Otherwise, there’s no way I’m putting it out there for others to read.  My first novel will never, ever see the light of day because it is just so bad.

Speaking of first novels, I’m currently in the process of beta-reading my friend Paula Walker Baker’s first novel!  I’m so, so, so excited for her and so impressed by how much she’s accomplished and how far she’s come in the year that I’ve known her.  This lady is going places and nothing is going to stop her!

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That being said, I’m off to go read the rest of her book.  Goodnight, all!

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!

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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.

BOY BAND Fun Facts and Chapter 1!

Hello, all!

It is officially April 1.  I hope everyone has avoided being pranked and fooled and whatnot.  I’m not really even trying this year, because I feel like everyone is expecting it.  However, as it is the beginning of the month that my new Young Adult novel, Boy Band will be released, I figured I should celebrate with some useless trivia and a Chapter 1 download!

So, in no particular order, here we go!

BOY BAND TRIVIA:

Boy Band started out as a NaNoWriMo project.  I’d never participated in NaNo before and I really had no intention to.  I didn’t like the idea of being timed or of writing a novel just because it was a certain month.  But a friend of mine, Savannah (http://savannahrohleder.blogspot.com), persuaded me.  I had no idea if I would publish the story, or if I would even finish it.  But I ended up loving it.  It just goes to show that you never know until you take a chance on something.

* My sister and I both LOVE boy bands, all boy bands, and countless hours spent watching music videos on YouTube inspired me to write about them.

*You can find the music that inspired Boy Band here: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/boy-band-soundtrack/

* Sam Morneau is named after Sam Claflin.

* Jesse Scott is named after Jesse McCartney (Yes, I really love Jesse McCartney).

* My sister and I wrote all the “songs” in the book.  I’m not sure if they’re good or not.  The one she wrote is, but the rest… Well, I guess you’ll just have to let me know.

* This is the first book for which I’ve designed the cover, and I loved it!

* My sister took the picture of New York that I used for the cover image.

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* Oliver Berkley is based on our cute tour guide from Scotland.  That might be a little creepy.  Oh well.

* The cute Irish singer that Mel refers to throughout the book was inspired by Niall Horan.

* I mention Zac Hanson in the book because he was my very first musician crush.  I was 9 years old and I was obsessed with Hanson.

* I mention Meg Cabot because she is my ultimate writing inspiration.  I kind of want to be her.

* Both of my editors got really mad at me for the way the book ended.  Yes, okay, it ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger.  THERE WILL BE A SECOND BOOK!  In fact, there’s going to be a third book too.

* Mel’s middle name, Kearney, is a family name.

* The group is from the Bay Area because I think San Francisco is really cool.

* I wrote Mel to look like my sister.  Really, this book is for her.  She’s my best friend in the world and without her, the book wouldn’t exist.

* Here’s Chapter 1.  Enjoy!

CHAPTER 1 Boy Band

Boy Band will be available April 21, 2015!

Please remember to enter my GoodReads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

Haunted Dreams

I’ve always had incredibly vivd dreams.  My mom always says it’s because of my active writer’s imagination. I guess that’s it, because I know better than to eat anything right before I go to bed.  Some of these dreams are a lot of fun, some are incredibly stressful, and some are just downright creepy.  Last night, I had one of the creepy ones.

It began with a friend of mine (in my dream only.  I don’t actually know this girl.  I don’t even remember her name) telling me that she and her fiancé were going to stay in this old, historic bed and breakfast and that she was terrified.  She said that they’d stayed there before and that she had been terrorized by what she thought was a demon in her room.

Now, it just so happens that in my dream, I was dating Zak Bagans (the lead investigator of Ghost Adventures… Who, you know, I honestly wouldn’t mind dating… He’s kind of hot… Anyway, I’m guessing this was all in my head because I was working on Cemetery Tours 3 last night till like, five in the morning).  Together, we agreed that we would go spend the night in this bed and breakfast to see if we could find out exactly what was going on.

The bed and breakfast itself was really cool and really creepy.  We were staying on the second or third floor, and it had old, fancy burgundy rugs lining the hallway and that overall sensation of a building that has stood for a very long time and has kept more secrets than most of us living can remember. My friend asked if she could spend the night in my room.  Honestly, I didn’t really want her to because I’m really scared of the idea of demonic entities, but I agreed anyway.

I had packed a crucifix, so I made sure to set that on the night stand as we were preparing for bed.  I said a couple of prayers, hoping they would protect the room and keep any unwanted spirits out.  But my friend was still in a panic.  She was convinced that this spirit was going to come for her just as soon as the lights went out.  I tried to comfort her, saying that the building was old, it made a lot of creaking noises, the foundation shifted…  It could very well all be in her mind.  But she wasn’t convinced.

Finally, we turned out the lights and settled into bed.  I was a little nervous, but I kept reminding myself that I grew up in a haunted house (it’s true) and that I’d always been able to sleep just fine.  But then, I heard footsteps walking across the room.  I glanced up and saw the reflection of a man’s silhouette on the television screen.  At first, I really thought it was my friend’s fiancé, so I sat up and looked around and realized that we were still alone.

Freaked out, I ran out into the hallway (yes, I totally abandoned my friend) and looked around for a sign of anyone who could have been the source of those footsteps.  There was no one.  However, as I was standing alone in the hall, some invisible presence rushed up behind me and growled in my ear.  I screamed bloody murder and ran down the hall to Zak’s room (wow, this is beginning to sound an awful lot like a fanfiction).  By the way, I have no idea why he left us girls alone to fight off a demon all by ourselves.  What a terrible boyfriend.

Anyway, I woke him up and told him about what had happened.  He went out into the hall to investigate while I stayed in his room like the scaredy-cat that I totally am.  Meanwhile, my friend joined me and I apologized for leaving her, but we both agreed we were not going back to that room.

Moments later, her fiancé came to get us.  He said that they’d discovered a loose panel in the wall outside of our bedroom.  My friend and I anxiously tip-toed back down the hall to where Zak and he had plied the panel off to reveal an old, dusty, wooden coffin.  It was disgusting and horrific, but I was totally intrigued.  No wonder that room was so haunted.  I told them that we should probably call the police or the manager or something before we went tearing into this creepy wooden box, but of course, no one listened to me.  Even in my own dream, I can’t make people listen to me.

They opened up the box to reveal, not the corpse of a person, but of a mangled, hairy beast, with the body of a jackal and the head of a boar.  I know where that came from.  In The Omen, Damian, the devil’s son, is born from the womb of a jackal.  By that point, I was absolutely done with everything having to do with that bed and breakfast.  I begged them not to mess with the body, to just leave it there and let professionals come in and deal with it, but again, no one listened to me.

The dream ended with the body being destroyed and the four of us hoping that would be the end of it.  But right before I woke up, my friend found a note scribbled on an old piece of parchment.  All the note said was, Don’t you remember me?

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So yeah, that was my dream last night.  Creepy as all hell.  But it left me totally inspired to keep working on Cemetery Tours 3, so that’s a good thing.

In other news, in the midst of editing horse pictures and playing outside, I’ve totally been overlooking all the work I really need to be doing.  For example, I need to revise my short story for the Lurking in the Deep anthology (Cover release on April 2!!!).  I still have an interview with Luke Rainer to write.  I have a friend’s book to edit.  Not to mention, it’s almost April!  Boy Band will be released in less than a month!  In like, 22 days!  I’m so excited!  But I need to get a few more teasers out and get to work formatting the eBooks.  It will all happen.  I just need to get organized.  Make a list.  That’s always my go-to strategy.  Make a to-do list.

That being said, I should probably go get started.  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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.

Boy Band: The First Copy!

Just a quick update: The first copy of Boy Band is here!

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Sadly, no, it’s not at Barnes and Noble (though it will be online soon), but it is the dream, isn’t it?

There are still a few revisions to be made and a few adjustments to make to the cover, but it is always so exciting to hold a new book in your hand for the first time, and I am so very excited for this one.  It began as a simply #NaNoWriMo project, one I wasn’t even sure that I would finish.  Five months later, here it is!  Life is pretty neat.

Boy Band will be available on Nook, Kindle, Amazon.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com on April 21!

Enter to win 1 of 5 signed copies at GoodReads.com: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

Much love, everyone!