Title and Cover Reveal

Hi, friends!  You’ve all been asking, and I finally have an answer!

BACKSTAGE, the sequel to BOY BAND, will be released on December 8, 2015!!!

another possible design for backstage

This is two title/cover reveals in the past month, I know, but I’m so, so, so excited about both of these books!  I can’t wait to share them with you!

Please don’t forget to enter my #BecomeACharacter Raffle!  It’s so easy!  All you have to do is like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!  Read more about it here: https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/becomeacharacter/

Love to all!

Feeling Accomplished

As y’all may or may not know, I’m a big fan of day-planners and to-do lists.  This week, my to-do list was jammed packed of so many things that I needed to get done.  Including but not limited to: Adopt parakeets, go to the bank, mail books, take kitty to vet, finish short story, pick the new Cemetery Tours cover designs, and go grocery shopping.

I am proud to say that I managed to check off most items on my list this week!  Some items will never fully be complete, such as: keep reading, clean out stuff that I don’t use/need anymore, become better at marketing, etc…  But as for the urgent stuff, the stuff that I needed to get done this week, well, I’m feeling fairly accomplished.

After two months of thinking to myself, “I’m never going to think of a story that can fit into 3000 words in time to enter it into this contest…”  And yet, last week, inspiration struck.  Last night, I submitted  my short story, 2300 words, to the Texas Authors Short Story Contest.  I have no idea of the story is anywhere near good enough, mostly because I’m such a novelist.  I’m not all that great at short stories.  I’m too wordy and I love character development more than just about anything.  I’m really happy with my story though.  I’m not sure it will win anything or if it will even make it into the Texas Shorts anthology, but if it does, awesome and if not, I’ll share the story here on my blog!

Speaking of short stories, I’m going to try to get the next Boy Band story out next week so stay tuned. 😉

I also found out yesterday that the North Texas Book Festival is going to be participating in North Texas Giving Day in Denton.  I got to attend my first Festival this past April (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/north-texas-book-festival/) and I loved it so much!  It was one of my very favorite events to date.  So on September 17, I volunteered to help represent them, talk about the festival, and try to get donations to support literacy and libraries in North Texas!  I’m so excited!  Then the next days, September 18 and 19 are Indievengeance Day and then the next weekend, I have TWO events with the Colony Library!  September and October are both going to be CRAZY busy but it will be awesome!  I can’t wait!

As for After Death, I’m going to get working on adding it to GoodReads, but mostly, I need to focus on getting it all revised and ready for publication in October!  That and I need to start really getting ready for the next Boy Band book as well!

Okay, so I will always have a heck of a lot of stuff that I need to get done.  But you know what?  I’m okay with that.

Happy Friday, y’all!

CT BTW AD

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.

CT2 copy unnamedBTW

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:

CT BTW

And the cover design for the newest book in the Cemetery Tours series!

AD

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/

#AmWriting

Hi, friends!

This will be a rather short post as I’ve got a pretty busy day ahead of me.  I’m driving out to my friend and fellow author Paula Walker Baker’s farm to consult her on the cover design for her new novella, The Conservative Congregant (read more about her and her books here: https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com)!  Then my sister and I are going to the movies.  Then, of course, I’ve still got a boatload of writing to do, especially on After Death AKA Cemetery Tours 3.  It’s taken a bit of a turn that I did not expect and while that is always welcome, I now have NO idea what’s going to happen!  That’s kind of the way I like it though.

Due to overwhelming demand for a sequel (it’s coming, I promise!), I’ve also decided to write a few Boy Band short stories that will hopefully make up for the way I ended the first book.  These stories will all be set before the events in Boy Band take place, so there will be NO spoilers for the book.  They’re just for fun.  There isn’t really a plot.  They’re very short.  Just glimpses into moments in their lives.  It’s kind of like fanfiction for my own book.  This first story is called Senior Year.  Enjoy!

PS: I didn’t hire my professional editors for this one, so if you spot a typo, I apologize!

Senior Year

Monday Musings

Hi, friends!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Mine was very relaxing, yet still somehow kind of productive.  I say “kind of” because I never feel like I’m as productive as I want to be/need to be/could be.  But you know, for a couple of days where I’m housesitting two houses, taking care of two cats with medical needs, and writing two books, three different short stories, and designing book covers, it could have been a lot worse.  OF course, just because I feel like I kind of did stuff over the weekend doesn’t mean I can take a break or even slow down.  There is always something that can be done.

For example…

1) Reading and reviewing.  I have several books on my to-read list, and several of those I hope to review as they are written by fellow indie authors.  I finally got to review Heir to the Sun by Jennifer Allis Provost yesterday: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1290975139?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

2) Tidying up.  I am a slob, okay?  Total and complete slob.  I like to think that when I own my future beach house, I’ll keep it nice, but to be totally honest, I probably won’t.  Still, as much as I hate cleaning, I usually do feel a lot better afterward.  So who knows?  Maybe I’ll take the plunge.

3) Designing book covers.  I’m not sure if I’ve told y’all this, but I am redesigning the Cemetery Tours series’ book covers.  I plan on re-releasing the first two with the new covers at the same time as After Death on October 6.  I’ve been playing around with design ideas and having a lot of fun with it.  For those wondering why, I still absolutely love the covers as they are now.  They’re beautiful and captivating and people really like them.  But they aren’t my images.  The photographs on the covers of those books are stock photos.  I’d really like to make the books fully my own, and that means using my own images.  As the release date draws closer, I’ll be sharing the image designs and ideas to get your opinion.  The ones I’m leaning toward right now are actually really pretty, but they still need a bit of work.

4) Working on short stories, not only for submission into anthologies, but for Boy Band!  I feel bad for leaving the story on such a cliffhanger, and to apologize for making my readers wait until December to find out what happens, I’ll be publishing a few free short stories here on my blog until December rolls around!  No spoilers at all.  They’re most stories of what took place before the first book.  Just for fun.

5) Preparing for my sister’s and my trip to California NEXT WEEK!  What?! How did that sneak up on us so quickly?!  I’m not at all ready!  But at the same time… I am SO ready!

What does your Monday have in store?

Cemetery Tours 3: Official Release Date and Title Reveal

Hi, friends!  This is going to be a short post because it’s late and I still have a lot to do tonight, but I wanted to OFFICIALLY announce that the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series, AFTER DEATH, will be available on Kindle and in paperback on OCTOBER 6!

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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

Cemetery Tours Front final RGB SAMPLE

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.

Bookmarks

Today’s goal is to design bookmarks that don’t look like I barely know how to use Photoshop (which may not be altogether untrue…).  Here’s what I’ve got so far.

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Right now, I like the black and white one and one with the flower the best.  Not too thrilled with the one in the middle.  I just don’t feel like there’s anything really special about it… And it looks like I made it in Photoshop.  Oh well.  I’ll keep playing around with it and see what I come up with later today!

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!

Dallas Comic Con 2015

I spent my last three days on my feet, talking loudly, and telling people about my books. My feet hurt. My back hurts. My throat hurts. My voice is still hoarse.

All in all, it was the best weekend ever.

I’m not kidding, y’all.  Dallas Comic Con was awesome.  It was busy and it was colorful and it was so full of delightful, creative people and all kinds of fangirly goodness.  It was incredible.  I met so many cool people (several of whom were aspiring writers) and made so many exciting, nerdy memories.  I’m telling you, this one is going to be hard to beat.

Perhaps best of all, I connected with so many people who loved to read and to write!  They were enthusiastic and eager to talk about books.  I even sold out of Between Worlds!

I also had two of my best friends in the world, Kat and Rachel (AKA Rat), there to help me (and to geek out over all the Harry Potter stuff)!

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Some of the awesome people I met include…

The Daughter of Athena AKA the REAL daughter of author Andrea Stehle, author of Gods of Arcadia: Daughter of Athena… https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23448104-gods-of-arcadia

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Voice Actress Cherami Leigh… http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0473873/

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The Guardians of the Galaxy…

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KISS…

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This adorable puppy named Lily…

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The DFW Ghostbusters… https://www.facebook.com/DFWGhostbusters

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This Scarecrow who is supposed to be terrifying but is actually quite friendly and tells silly jokes…

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The Jurassic Park jeep…

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And this adorable little R2.

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Infinite love and thanks to my friend James William Peercy, author of The Wall Outside series, for inviting me to be a part of this convention!  I can’t wait for next time!