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!

Of Design and Decimals

I’ve learned something about myself in the last week or so.  I really, really enjoy designing book covers.  I didn’t think I’d be very good at it, especially since my earliest attempts ended up looking something like this:

early cover 2 early cover 3 early cover 4 early cover 1

You get the idea. Not good, right?  I’m really thankful for my friend and cover designer, Ben.  I have to admit, these looks a lot better:

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Designing the cover to Boy Band started out the same way as those early copies of Cemetery Tours.

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In other words, not good.  Thanks to the advice of my friend and editor, however, I decided to go back and see if I couldn’t come up with something a little better.  I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the end result, and I hope it looks as good printed on an actual cover as it does on my computer screen.

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Like I said, I ended up really, really enjoying the design process and I’m hoping it’s something I can learn more about and maybe help others with in the future.

There was one downside to the whole thing, however, and that was… Math.  In order to successfully upload the image to the designer’s website, you have to add in and extra .25 inches, then in order to create a spine you had to add and multiply all these other decimals and as you can probably tell, I barely even figured out how to get it done.  There is no way I’d actually be able to explain it.  My notebook ended up looking like this:

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Don’t even bother to check my math, because I can tell you right now it’s wrong.  I’d happily lived my post-high-school life secure in my faith that I would never, ever use math in my everyday life.  Well, I guess the joke is on me.  Not only did I have to use math, I was also cruelly reminded of how much I suck at it.  Grrrrr.

On a happier note, however, my proof copies of Boy Band were approved and are on their way to me now.  I’m super excited to see them!  I just hope the cover looks okay.  If not, it might be back to the drawing board.

Before I sign off, I also wanted to show you my new, improved, and redesigned website, http://www.windtrailpublishing.com.  It looks a lot more cheerful now.

Enjoy your day, everyone!  I pray that you don’t have to do any math.

Cover Reveal: Boy Band

I know it’s late, but I worked really hard last night on designing the back cover of my new YA novel, Boy Band! I have never designed a book cover before, so I had no idea how it was going to turn out.  Keep in mind, it still needs a little tweaking, but I wanted to share it with you so far!

30251d8f3b1accb44c4b7a3fdf0c4b62 boy band back cover

I’ve actually really enjoyed creating my own book covers.  Who knows?  Maybe cover-design is one more thing I can add to my resume!

Remember, you can enter to win one of five signed copies of Boy Band here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

Please enter and spread the word!

Also, please check out https://danielleelisemiller.wordpress.com for a chance to win eBook copies of BOTH Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds.  There will be three winners and you can choose either Nook or Kindle.

No Time for Celebration

Last night, I finished revisions on Boy Band.  The next step, of course, is to run one last spelling and grammar check before sending it off to my dearly beloved editors.  One of them lives in California, so I have to email it to her.  That’s great.  I can get it sent off tonight.  But my other editor lives right down the street and I like to print it off and give it to her.  Unfortunately, I do not own a printer, so in order to print off full manuscripts, I have to drive to Staples.

Well guess what?

THERE’S STILL ICE ON THE ROAD.

Guess what else?

IT’S SUPPOSED TO GET WORSE TOMORROW.

That’s right.  Texas is planning on 2-4 inches of snow.  I mean, snow is a lot better than ice, but I still can’t get out and drive in it!  All the stereotypes are true, folks.  Texans cannot drive in snow or ice.  If you get behind the wheel in this stuff, you are asking for it.  I speak from experience.  I totaled my car back in 2010 because I thought it was no big deal.  Nope.  It is a big deal.  I was lucky enough to walk away with just a scratch, but I am through taking chances when it comes to ice and snow.

So, that’s my snow rant.  The good news is I have brownie mix.  And a LOT of books I haven’t read yet.  So the cabin fever isn’t too bad.  Still, I REALLY miss the sun.  The sun is my friend.  I like the sun.

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I say there’s no time for celebration, however, because I have two new projects that I need to have finished by Saturday.  I’m really excited about them, but I also really need to buckle down and focus on them as well.  That’s good, because I like being busy, but it’s unfortunate because I just started reading a new book and it’s really good and I want to finish it and do nothing else and the cold, grey, weather outside is only making me want to do nothing except lie around and read even more.  Yes, I know, that was a very long sentence.  I’m sorry.

Good things are happening, y’all.  In spite of the cold.

The Revision Cycle

I think I’ve mentioned before that before any of my books go to my editors, they first go chapter by chapter to my sister.  Every writer needs someone whom they trust to be completely honest, especially when it comes to what needs to be revised.  For me, that’s my sister.  For one thing, she doesn’t have to worry about telling me the truth or hurting my feelings because I have to love her no matter what.  For another thing, she reads more than anyone I know.  She reads more than I do.  And I read a lot.  But the thing about KJ is that she knows a good book when she reads one.  She knows what it takes, what works and what doesn’t.  I also know she’d never let me publish anything she thought was lousy, not for my benefit, but because she doesn’t want people reading it and thinking, “Wow, KJ’s sister sucks.”

Today, I received not only my newest manuscript (and let me tell you, she poured her heart and soul into it.  She did a great job with the Cemetery Tours books, but I think she’s REALLY excited about this new one) but a box full of Valentines presents – nail polish, earrings, a mix CD, a key chain, lip balm, markers, and a copy of a magazine full of One Direction pictures.  All the makings for a perfect girls night.  I just wish she was here to share it with me.

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Now that the manuscript is back in my hands, however, the real work is about to begin.  I love every part of the writing and publishing process, but revisions can be grueling.  I try to stay as organized as possible when I go through and make changes, but it can get confusing.  I can’t take too long with revisions, however, because I need to get this manuscript to my editors, especially since the book is due for release April 21!  I’ve told y’all before, but I am really excited about this book.  It’s so different from Cemetery Tours, but it’s so fun.

Of course, I’m still writing Cemetery Tours 3.  I started chapter 17 last night, and it’s taking some new and interesting turns that I didn’t expect.  I hope readers like it as much as the first two.  That’s something I worry about, you know?  That it won’t live up to the others.  That the first two were awesome but the third one is crap.  I know writers are supposed to exude confidence and self-assurance, but I think the truth is we all worry about how our work will be received.  We all want our book to be someone’s favorite book.  One of my dreams is to have someone write fanfiction about my characters one day!  When that day comes, I’ll know I’ve made it.

Have an awesome day, all!  I won’t be posting tomorrow because I have my very first JURY DUTY.  If you want to follow me on Twitter, however, I’ll try to do some live-tweeting.  Not about the case or anything confidential, of course,  but about how bored I am and maybe a picture of my shoes.

Twitter: JackieSmith114

Peace out.

Posting or Lack Thereof

If I go a day or two without posting, it usually means one of several things. I might be busy.  It might be a holiday.  More than likely, however, it means I have no idea what to blog about.  Seriously, sometimes my life is not that interesting.  And believe it or not, something I don’t have anything to say.  Shocking, but true.

I really didn’t think too much had happened in the last few days, but the more I look back on them, the more I realize, hey yeah, a lot kind of did happen.

For one thing, Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds keep getting great reviews.  I think on Amazon, CT is up to 52 while BW is at 22.  I’d love to see more, obviously, but for indie books about ghosts, that’s pretty okay.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0989673405/ref=x_gr_w_bb_t1_x?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_t1_x-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0989673405&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Twenty people have already marked Boy Band as To-Read on GoodReads and it won’t even be out until April 21!

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

I’m signed up to participate in two book events in the springtime – The North Texas Book Festival and AuthorFest in Dennison, TX.  I’m trying to find a time also to visit a few independent bookstores around here as well as getting into urban exploration.  That has nothing to do with books or anything, but I find it really interesting and I think I could get some pretty cool pictures.  Photography, as you know, is my other great love besides writing.

I’ve also been reading a lot more than I got to near the end of 2014.  I used all my Christmas money to buy a mountain of new books and I’ve been able to read them regularly.  It’s been so great!  I also bought a new summer candle to burn while I read, so it’s kind of like paradise in my living room.

The books I’ve read so far are:

As You Wish by Cary Ewles.  I loved this book.  I love The Princess Bride (both the book and the movie) to begin with, so getting read about the filming experience from the point of view of The Man in Black himself was really great.  It also really made me want to watch the movie again.

Alienated by Melissa Landers.  Fun and fast-paced Young Adult novel about a race of aliens who participate in a student exchange program with earth.  I never thought I’d say this, but Aelyx, the alien, was kind of dreamy.

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.  My sister recommended this book to me and may I just say that it is laugh out loud hilarious and an all around great read.  Imagine your ex-boyfriend writing a song about you and having it become an international hit.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Oh boy. If you want to read a book that will break your heart and have you tearing up throughout the entire story, this is the one.  Very rarely do I cry so easily at anything, books, songs, or movies, but I was fighting back tears the entire time.

Right now, I’m reading Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor.  It’s good so far, but again, it’s kind of sad.  I’m really enjoying it though.  I realize that as I approach the big 27, I’m getting more back into reading Young Adult than I was in college, which is kind of weird, but whatever.  I’m really enjoying all my new books, and i’m especially enjoying them because I have my own YA book due out in a couple of months.

In other non-book related news, I was in my first Earthquake the other day.  Well, technically, I’ve been in Earthquakes before, including that enormous one out in California, but I slept through them so they really don’t count.  Being in an Earthquake is really weird.  It’s like a giant gust of wind traveling through the foundation of a building.  I saw the walls shake and everything.  Crazy.

Finally, I’m just really looking forward to celebrating my birthday this weekend (even though it’s not till the 14th) before my sister has to go back to school. We’ve had a great holiday and i’m going to miss her like crazy, but I’m pretty sure the next few months will fly.  There’s just so much going on!

Later, gators.

Something More

There’s a song I love by Sugarland called Something More.  It’s a great song about life and living it the way it’s meant to be lived.  There has to be more than the daily rush and hustle.  These lyrics have always stood out to me:

Some believe in destiny and some believe in fate

But I believe that happiness is something we create

You best believe that I’m not gonna wait.

Ever since I began working for myself as an independent author, I’ve never been happier.  I’ve waited my entire life to really learn to love myself.  In college, the thought of being alone with my mind and my thoughts was terrifying.  I wasn’t happy with me.  I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do.  I thought I’d never figure it out.

Now, as I approach my 27th birthday in nine short days (agh!), I find myself looking forward to the future, able to spend countless hours by myself (and enjoy them), and most importantly, I’m still determined to work and make things happen.  Perhaps more so than ever.

I used to think that the best thing about writing was that I got to create worlds and characters and stories that I wanted to see and know and read.  Believe me, those are still some of my very favorite things in the world and I have so many worlds and characters and stories in my head that need to get out and onto paper.  But I’ve had so many people just this week reading Between Worlds and telling me, “I’ve missed your characters!  I can’t wait to find out what happens next!”

That, my friends, is the coolest thing ever.  It not only reassures me that I’ve written something that is worth reading and enjoyable, but it makes me miss my characters, too.  I’ve taken some time off from the next Cemetery Tours to work on my new YA novel/NaNo project, but I really do miss Michael and Kate and Luke and Brink.  I can’t forget about them.  And I won’t.

As much as I love those characters, however, they’re not alone inside my head.  Along with the rest of the Cemetery Tours series and Boy Band, I have at least three more series and five stand alone novels in my head right now.  If at all possible, I’d like to get them out sooner rather than later.

For some reason, I’ve always had it in my head that I can only do one book a year, but the more I read about other independent writers, the more I realize that’s simply not the case.  I could probably easily produce four or five high quality books in a year.  I’ve always been a big believer that more often than not, the only thing standing in your way is that little voice inside your mind telling you that you can’t.  You can’t.  It won’t work.  It’s impossible.  The mind is a powerful thing and I believe that it can hold you back.  This year, I’m going to do my best to remind myself that I can.  Great things are so possible.  Too many people who’ve gone before us have already proven that.  Who are we to believe otherwise?

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PS – I’m adding this picture in because posts always look better with pictures than without.

My Venture into Young Adult Literature

I’ve mentioned before that my next book to be published will be the young adult novel that began as my NaNoWriMo project.  While I didn’t complete it for the month of November, I have almost reached the end of the first draft and I have even secured ISBNs for both the paperback and the eBook.

Y’all, I am really excited about this book.

I’ve decided to release it on April 21.  I even have a cover designed, though I probably won’t be releasing it or even the title of the book for at least a month.  I don’t want to make a big deal out of it and then have everyone forget about it by the time the book actually comes out.

I made the decision to write this book, and to go forward with publishing it for a number of reasons.  For one thing, it’s probably the most fun thing I’ve ever written and I really, really think that fans of the young adult genre will enjoy it.  I know several readers have enjoyed Cemetery Tours, but I do feel like it’s something of a niche.  People love a good ghost story around Halloween, but once winter rolls around, readers have moved on.  I’m incredibly enthusiastic about this new book/series because it’s one that readers can enjoy year-round.  I still love Cemetery Tours and I have every plan to continue the series.  The third book, I’m thinking, will be released August or September 2015.  However, I don’t want to be a one-series author.  I want to be like Meg Cabot, who has dozens of books and several series to her name.  I write ghost stories, but I also write YA and chick lit and mythology and so on.

Until the new books are released, however, I’m going to keep doing my best to keep promoting Cemetery Tours.  It is featured now on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=w4NOngEACAAJ&dq=cemetery+tours&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DHiPVOjcA8ibNqaSgpAG&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA

And on BookDaily.com: http://www.bookdaily.com/book/4142184/cemetery-tours

Friendly reminder also that there are TEN DAYS left to enter my Christmas GoodReads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/117688-between-worlds

Finally, I do have a Pinterest board going for my new Young Adult book.  I really can’t tell you how excited I am about it.  https://www.pinterest.com/windtrailpub/a-young-adult-novel/  

I’m also in the midst of planning out new events for 2015.  All good things, y’all!  All good things.

New Project

Hello, friends!  I hope you all had a delightful weekend.  Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, but she wasn’t home, so we’ll be celebrating tonight and tomorrow.  We were still pretty busy over the weekend, however, making preparations and doing some last minute birthday shopping.  I’m really excited for her to see what I got her.  I’m pretty much best big sister ever.

Along with shopping and birthday antics, I’ve also been thinking about my new Young Adult Project that I began for NaNoWriMo.  I’ve decided that I am, in fact, going to publish it under my name.  I’m saving my super secret pen name for the books I actually want to keep a secret.  I’ve also made it my goal to have the new book ready for publication Spring 2015.  I’ve even made a Pinterest teaser board for it.

https://www.pinterest.com/windtrailpub/untitled-young-adult-project/

So, yeah.  It’s coming along nicely.  I finished Chapter 14 last night.  I’m not kidding, I am having so much fun writing this book.  I think my favorite part is that I have absolutely nothing planned for it.  I’m just writing it.  In a weird way, I think it makes writing easier.  The story is evolving the way it’s supposed to and I can’t wait to share it!

In other news, I went out to visit a dear friend of mine at her farm and I want to share some of the pictures.  One of these days, I’m going to take my real camera out there and take some pictures, but for now, iPhone photos will have to do.

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There’s something about a Texas sky…

Work in Progress

Before I send any of my works in progress off to my editor, before I begin sharing titles and plot details, before I even finish the manuscript, I send the project, chapter by chapter to one person.  My sister.  She is the only person who gets to read everything I write, no matter what.  That’s because she’s basically the only person in the world I trust to be completely honest with me.  She’s not going to look me in the eye and tell me that a book is good when it, in fact, is not.  She tells me what works and what doesn’t work, if something fits a character, if the plot is just totally and completely useless, etc…  It takes a good friend to tell you that they love your writing.  It takes a sister to tell you the truth.

I know I can trust her, not only because she’s my sister and I know she’s not afraid to be honest with me, but because she’s an even bigger reader than I am.  Seriously.  I read a lot.  KJ devours books.  She is the ultimate book consumer.  This is why she is always my primary reader.  She doesn’t edit.  She just reads.

Last night, we were texting about a lot of different things and all of a sudden, she says to me, “Not gonna lie, but I think the reason I like <Current Work in Progress Title> so much is because it’s the greatest source of wish fulfillment I have ever read.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Cemetery Tours, but you are an amazing YA author.  Like, if I was fifteen and you weren’t my sister and I found this in a store, I would eat it up.  And I’m not just saying that because it’s wish fulfillment.  I’m saying that as someone who literally went to the library every day in 7th grade and read every YA book there.”

Can I just tell you that is the best compliment I have ever received from anyone?!  Especially my sister.  She and I are always supportive of one another, but neither one of us are the type to say something like that unless we really mean it.  It meant more coming from her than it would anyone else because I know she hates phony compliments as much as I do.  I really didn’t know what to say!  I can tell you right now, however, that she’s got me so, so, so excited to keep writing this book and to finish it hopefully this month so I can get it out ASAP!  Don’t worry, I’m not going to rush it or put out a book that’s low quality just because I’m eager to share it.  But I am so, so, so excited about it now!  Her words totally and completely made my whole day.

Cemetery Tours 3 is still definitely on its way, and so is the new series I’ve been talking about.  That’s what I want to do with my life.  I’m telling you, I want to be Meg Cabot who has like, a million different series.  I’m just interested in so many different things and types of stories.  I used to think that my addictive personality was something of a curse.  I love the ocean and I love Scotland and I love ghost stories and I love boy bands and I love fantasy and I love magic and I love forests and I love chick lit and I love folklore… I used to wonder what I was going to do with myself with so many different interests… Interests that really have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out the answer was writing.