Thursday, December 12, 2013

"For Always" Q&A

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


There are several people who have asked me the same questions,
so I thought I would publicly answer some of them.

I love it when readers have questions, by the way, so never be afraid to ask me something!



1. My daughter is ten and wants to read 'For Always'. Is the content suitable for her?
It is YA, not middle grade, so if it were me, I would wait. My daughter is nine but was dying to read it, so I've been reading it to her, omitting any parts that may not be age appropriate. To me, fourteenish & up is a more appropriate age, more for content than language. (It is fairly clean as far as language goes, but it is a romance novel.)

2. Will Max & Nellie hook up?
This is one of those questions that I didn't expect, but I guess I can see why people have asked. Sorry, I can't really answer this one just yet. That's one of those things you will have to find out when you read book two...or three. (And that applies to questions about Beau & the Takers, too lol.)

3. Who is the lady in the cemetery and will we hear from her again?
Yes, you will hear from her again. ☺ And that's about all I can say about that.

4. When will book two be out?
This is one I'm asked the most, for sure. I'm busting my butt trying to get it out before spring. I'm going to try to have it edited and turned in to my publisher next month. It will then have to have the cover done and be edited & formatted. I'm like you...I don't like waiting for that next book.
~~UPDATE!~~
Book two, 'For Now', is supposed to be released at the end of March, possibly early April.

5. Where can I get your book?
As of right now, you can get it on amazon in kindle edition and paperback, as well as Barnes & Noble for the nook. It is also available in all bookstores, just request it.


If you ever have any questions, feel free to post them on my facebook page or tweet me






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Friday the 13th

Entirely Books

Facebook Takeover 


Maggie, from Entirely Books, has been brave enough to let me
 take over her Facebook page on none other than Friday the 13th!
(*insert creepy laugh here*)

 

Giveaways! Giveaways! Giveaways!


Not only do I want you to tune in just so you can chat with me,
I want you to tune in so you can WIN something!

What might I win, you ask?
Weeell, let's see what I have to give.........


I will be giving a lot of these away.

May give away more than one....


I have one last copy in my possession that I will sign & give away...just in time for Christmas!

Make sure you tune in on Friday the 13th!

Click here ► Entirely Books ◄ to Like


I'll see you there!






Friday, November 15, 2013

Three GIVEAWAYS going on right now!

Rafflecopter:

You still have until the 18th to enter to win one of THREE signed copies of 'For Always'.

Flash Giveaway: 

There is a flash giveaway going on TODAY ONLY on Facebook where you can win one of two kindle edition copies of my debut novel 'For Always'.


Goodreads:

I'm also giving away THREE MORE signed copies on Goodreads.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

For Always by Janae Mitchell

For Always

by Janae Mitchell

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, November 8, 2013

It's Official!

Now available on amazon!
Click Here

WHAT?!?


I went out to eat with my family last night and came home to a few messages on Facebook. One happened to read:
Hi, I just saw that your book is on amazon to download for kindle. I have two Nooks! Why does it show kindle ebook and not paperback yet?
Not thinking it would be available at all until the 18th, I quickly pulled up amazon to see if it was actually there (after I sat there with my mouth hanging open trying to halt my rapidly increasing heartbeat). To my surprise, there it was. My unpublished virginity had been taken—I was officially a published author!


With this being my debut novel, the feeling of seeing my baby, my first born, up in lights—on amazon—was overwhelming. The thought of someone reading my words and hopefully loving my story excited me more than any amount of money the book may bring. Something I had dreamed about for a long time had come to fruition and people were going to be able to read my book. Oh my gosh...people were going to be able to read my book. Read it, analyze it, smell it, swish the words around in their mouth deciding if it's palatable or not...judge it. Judge me.


I suddenly wished that I hadn't ate those barbecue-stuffed mushrooms covered in coleslaw because they were beckoning for release. My stomach churned with the worries and insecurities that I'm sure every other author has. Will readers love it? Will they hate it? Will they want to read book two? I didn't get much sleep, wondering who had already started reading it and curious as to whether or not they were glad they had. Worrying is something that that I have inherited, coming from a long line of worriers, and it's something I'm going to have to learn to harness and use in a positive way. I think I'll not only harness it, but name it & unleash it at will. (I'm also a planner.)

So, it's official...I can now say that I'm a published author. The process of getting here has, at times, humbled me to tears, caused me to cry tears of joy, and made me feel like I was going to puke. And I'm sure this journey into author-hood will continue to be one big roller-coaster ride that I hope you will join me on. I feel blessed that I've been given this opportunity and I just hope that I don't screw it up. ☺ 

I am going to go unleash the beast now, so I will finish with this...
One of the main characters in my book says not to 'live your life by what ifs', and he is right—if you do, you might miss out on what's next


                                                                                    ♥ Just remember to breath. ♥


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

COMING NOVEMBER 18th

I am excited to announce . . .







For Always will officially be available on November 18th!


Malyn Reed meets, and quickly falls in love with, Beau Brogan, 
who seems to be perfect in every way…
Except for the fact that he died in 1910…

Malyn Reed has been able to see spirits her entire life. Now that she’s almost seventeen, she has learned to differentiate between the living and the dead, making her gift feel less like an evil curse. She ignores the spirits she encounters on a daily basis, which has made living side by side with them slightly easier…until she moves to Dandridge, the second oldest town in Tennessee.

Beau Brogan has been dead for a hundred years. In life, he was a hard working country boy who loved his family and stole the hearts of many southern belles. But all of that came to a tragic halt at the age of nineteen when his life came to an untimely end. In death, his spirit has been entombed in a ghostly life of loneliness and misery that he wishes would just end…until the Reeds move in.




For more information about 'For Always' (book one),
 please visit my website.








Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Debut Novel 'For Always' (book one in the series)

Coming soon . . . .

A YA Fiction novel with a paranormal twist 

They meet . . .


They fall in love . . .



But there was just one problem . . .














Beau died in 1910 . . .


Can their love survive beyond the death
 that took his life so long ago?


I will be posting launch dates on my facebook page & on twitter, so make sure to like & follow!


For more info about
'For Always'
click here


Published by Limitless Publishing



Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Submission Process for Dummies

My manuscript of 'For Always'
When I printed off the first draft of my finished manuscript, I literally almost cried . . . like a proud new parent holding their baby for the first time. As you can see, my first child—ahem—I mean manuscript, was a doozy. At a little over 115,000 words, 'For Always' is a rather lengthy debut novel. Some YA publishers and literary agents won't even accept a submission if it's over 90,000 words. I gasped at this, knowing that there was no way that I would be able to cut anything out, and I didn't. Luckily, Limitless Publishing thought the length was fine and my debut novel is being published as I work to complete book two. Because I was able to get my debut novel published, and rather quickly, I might add, with no formal training or college degree, I thought I would share what I have learned (on my own) with others who, like me, have no clue to what the whole submission process entails.

You have finished writing a book . . . now what?

I am writing this post as a slight follow up to a previous post regarding my journey into Authorhood. It all started with a desire to write and a storyline idea, which ultimately lead to writing 'For Always'. Once I was finished writing my first draft, I reread it, editing as I went along. Once that was finished, I edited it again. I probably edited it three or four times before I was comfortable enough to actually let someone read it and give me their opinion, suggestions, etc. I soon learned that these people who were going to read my manuscript were called beta readers. Yes, you read that right; I didn't know what a beta reader was until after I wrote my first novel. This just goes to show that writing is not all about what kind of, or how many, writing degrees you have; it is about the talent you naturally possess. Some people may go to school for years, taking every writing course they can, and still not be able to write something that people will want to read. So if you are like me and have no formal writing training, don't fret. (Just make sure you don't mention that in your query letters.) I will have to admit, writing courses would have made this journey easier, especially since I'm a Southern Belle (a.k.a hillbilly) and my grammar reflects that. But one thing I've learned as a new, soon-to-be published Author is that there are no grammatical questions that Google can't answer.

Beta Readers

The first thing you will want to do before submitting your work is let your beta readers critique it. Do not limit your readers to friends or family who may tell you that everything you've written is gold just to keep from hurting your feelings or crushing your dreams. You want beta readers that will honestly critique your work, make suggestions, mark copy editing mistakes you may have missed, etc. I only had three, but could've, and should've, had more. I would recommend anywhere from ten to fifteen, because they will all find different issues, plot holes, mistakes, confusing lingo, etc., and this will give you a better feel of things you may need to change or edit. For instance, I mention astral projection in 'For Always', and one of my beta readers didn't know what that was, so it threw them off. letting me know I needed to elaborate on that and explain it better. For new beta readers, make sure you explain what their 'job' is. Give them a list of questions if you think this will help get the info you are looking for. (i.e. Were there any scenes that bored you or went on for too long? Were there any unresolved issues that left holes in the storyline? Would you rate this a must read? Why/why not?) It's tough hearing that your baby isn't perfect, but knowing these flaws will help you reach perfection in your final manuscript.

Query Letter

The dreaded query letter! This and the synopsis (which is a summary of your work that some submissions also require) was harder to write than the actual book. Some agents/publishers want just a query letter with sample chapters, and some want the whole shebang—query letter, synopsis, resume, and sample chapters. Having been a hairstylist most of my life, never submitting anything to anyone, I had to look up exactly what a query letter was. Well, in my opinion, it's just a fancy word for a cover letter, introducing you and what your work is about. I read so many articles stressing that it had to be perfect, attention grabbing, Oscar winning, and was your only hope to ever getting published. Needless to say, I panicked. What could I possibly put in a query letter? I was just a country girl from a small town in East Tennessee who had never published anything; I was pretty sure that winning a poetry contest in the eleventh grade wouldn't impress anyone. So, I decided that if they didn't like me for who I was that I didn't need them and would look elsewhere for representation and publication. That's when I relaxed and wrote my first query letter.
My first paragraph explained why I was submitting to them. If there is another author that they represent that you can compare your writing style to, I'd mention that as well, just so they know that you've done your research and aren't just picking them at random. My current publisher, for instance, mainly publishes romantic paranormal fiction, including YA, which mine is, so naturally I let them know that my book would fit in with their other authors' books. I also pointed out that it did not have your typical vampire or werewolf like so many do now and explained how mine was different and how it had crossover appeal. You may also want to include word count here.
Tip: This is your first impression, so impress. Catch their attention in the first paragraph or they may not even read the second one. Make it personal, customized and addressed to the person at the agency that will be reading your query.
My second & third paragraphs consisted of a brief synopsis of my book and interest intriguing questions, which you can find here. Since the query letter should only be one page, don't go into great detail, mentioning every plot, subplot, and minor detail. Explain the main plot, just enough of it to make them want to read more. That is what your ultimate goal is at this point, after all—to get a request to see the entire manuscript.
My fourth paragraph introduced me, and since I have no formal training, college degree, or awards to mention, I focused on my experience with the paranormal, which lead to me writing this novel.
My fifth paragraph thanked them for their time and let them know that I had a complete manuscript ready per their request. I also listed whatever chapters/pages that were required per their guidelines, which I usually just pasted into the email (many won't even open email with attachments), and I let them know that a second novel was in the works, so they would know it was a series, which has more appeal for some. I also let them know that I was eager to help promote my novel.
You don't have to format yours exactly the same as mine, this is just an outline of how I did mine, which worked for me. I tried to sound professional, yet remained true to who I am.

Submissions

After formatting a generic query letter (which I modified for those I sent it to) and a synopsis, my next question was who to submit them to. For the answer to this, and several other questions I had along the way, I turned to Google. As a new writer, Google became my best friend. (I have listed a few sights below that I used and may be helpful to you at some point.) After finding literary agents who were accepting submissions, and who were interested in my genre (very important!), I followed their guidelines and submitted to them. I then realized that I could submit straight to publishers, too, which I also did. I made a list of agents and publishers who I submitted to, and if you plan on sending several, I would do this, too. You won't believe how confusing it can get. There were several instances where I almost submitted to agents at the same agency, which is usually a no-no. Luckily, I had my list, so I was able to prevent that from happening.
Once I submitted to those who I was interested in, I just sat back and waited. I remember getting my first rejection letter, which I was expecting; I was so excited just to get a response and see what they, the literary agent, would say. Sadly, though, most rejection letters are an informal 'Not right for us' type of response, which didn't help me at all. Why was I not right? I wanted a critique from these professionals, not some generic apology letter. So don't expect too much in regard to learning why you were rejected, and don't take it personally. Not everyone will like our books, just like everyone doesn't like the same type of movie or food. As bad as I hate the thought of getting bad reviews once my book is published, I know I will, and I'm going to try not to take it personally . . . even though they will be insulting my baby. It's personal taste and everybody's is different—not right or wrong, just different.

Contracts

On that fateful day, if you're like me, you will undoubtedly jump up and down with excitement because you just got offered a contract on your book. And then reality will set in, causing a stir of butterflies in your stomach when you realize that you just got offered a contract, not just for a book, but for your baby—the baby that you nurtured and perfected into the beautiful manuscript that it is today. Publishers have the final say on almost everything, from the cover to editing, which bothered me at first. And as with any contract, you should let a lawyer look over it, like I did, just to make sure there's not some legal aspect of it that you may not understand; no contract will ever be perfect, but you want to know what you're signing.
Once I convinced myself that it was okay to let go of some of the control (i.e. parental rights) and trust my publisher and their knowledge and expertise, and accepted the fact that I would now have to birth not one, but two more children (they want at least three in the series), I signed it . . . which was hard to do while dancing with joy. Joint custody isn't always a bad thing.

Where I'm at now on my journey . . .

So far, I feel really blessed to have Limitless Publishing. I couldn't imagine publishing my first novel on my own. Self publishing may be great for some, but at this point in my life, not me. Not only with design, editing, and everything else that goes into it, but with advertising, too. Publishing companies want your book to sell just as much as you do, so most will do what they can to help get your book out there. And my book is also going to be on audio, which would be another entirely new ballgame for me, and on top of everything else, a bit much. Thank you, Limitless Publishing, for taking care of (doing all of the dirty work for) us!
At this point, my editor has my manuscript and I'm waiting to see what revisions have to be made, which I'm slightly nervous about, yet kind of excited about, too. Final manuscript has to be turned into the publisher within the next month, so it's getting close ☺. 
I just sent in my input for the cover designer on how I want my cover to look. The publisher always has the final say, however, I am glad to be able to offer suggestions on what I had in mind for it. I can't wait to get that email revealing the cover to me for the first time . . . I've got butterflies already. I hope I fall in love with it; we shall see.

Useful Websites:

Preditors & Editors - This lists agents & publishers, as well as reviews for them
Agent Query - This site has a lot of info, including query basics, agents, and more
Nicholas Sparks - Who better to get advice from than Mr. Nicholas Sparks?
Jane's Writing Advice Archives - Filled with lots of important info
Literary Agents - A list of updated agents
Association of Authors' Representatives - Agents who accept queries by email
YA Literary Agents (Writers Digest) - A list of new agents who may want to build clientele
Limitless Publishing - This is my publisher, who is occasionally open to submissions for romance/paranormal


This is just my experience, yours may be different.
But I hope that some of the information/links I provide will help someone,
or at least give new authors, like myself, hope that they can get published.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Orbs

This photo was taken by a guest at one of our events in Downtown Morristown
who said that it felt like someone was following her down the steps. She turned
and took this photo over her shoulder...and then ran once she looked at it.

One of the buildings located behind
the Thomas House.
Orbs . . . proof of the afterlife or that it's dusty? This is a much debated phenomena within the paranormal community. What are orbs? The usual 'orb' is round, may have a 'face', 'eye', rings, or spots in it, and varies from transparent to white, and they even come in different colors on occasion. In my opinion, most orbs occur when the camera flash reflects off of dust or moisture that is in the air, or even a bug.

When I took the photo to the left, I didn't look at it and say, "Wow, I just took a picture of a ghost." I was outside, on a humid Tennessee night, and knew that it was moisture. This is what often happens in photos from cemeteries—taken at night, moisture in the air, orbs abound. Just Google 'orbs' and it will pull up several photos that depict exactly what I'm talking about. We even have some orb photos on our website and facebook page that our team has taken. But in my opinion, 98-99% of orb photos are not paranormal.

I think it's so funny when Zak Bagans (Ghost Adventures) captures an orb going across the camera and can 'debunk it as not being a bug or dust'. If he has no proof that there wasn't a bug or dust that happened to go by, how can he debunk it? From one fellow paranormal investigator to another, I've never been able to see a particle of dust or a small bug in the dark. And believe it or not, dust doesn't always travel in groups. A single dust particle can float around on its own, so dust doesn't always have to look like snow. I've even seen dust flicker like a strobe light on camera, and as cool as it looks, it's not paranormal.

Bethesda Church
But on the other hand, aside from dust, moisture, and bugs, I do think there are actual orbs, sometimes called light anomalies, that have been caught on camera. Take the photo to the right, which I took one evening at a cemetery while filming a documentary. The sun was behind the trees, so I saw no reflection onto the church, I wasn't using my flash, and this is the only photo that had this anomaly in it. Now this is the kind of orb photo that piques my interest; misshapen, misty around the edges, and fairly unexplainable. If it's not a reflection, either from the sun, dust, or moisture, then what is it? I don't know, and that is why I investigate the paranormal.

So, what's you're opinion on orbs?
Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Did You Hear That?

I am a member of a paranormal group called Eyewitness Paranormal, but we affectionately like to call our investigative team The Graveyard Shift. People often ask if we've ever caught paranormal evidence or had any scary experiences while on an investigation. The answer is yes, yes we have.

My first experience can be found in my last post entitled My Ghost Story, which is the reason I became an investigator. Another experience involved the famous 'ball rolling by itself' while at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Instead of it rolling to me, it turned and rolled back to the person who had rolled it to me. It did this about three times, and in different directions, but then it just stopped and rolled to me like normal. And the best part was that it was a skeptic that was rolling it to me. We also caught a ball rolling down an empty hallway, too, but didn't realize until we went through our pictures. Waverly Hills, especially the body chute, is one creepy place.

A friend and I also got to investigate The Thomas House, which was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters. We got to hear a disembodied growl in one of their rooms, not once, but twice, which was also caught on my recorder. I would not be able to stay in that room alone . . . ever.

As a team, we have caught some great evidence and had some great experiences over the past few years. The most exciting experience we've ever had was at Old South Pittsburg Hospital. We had just exited the third floor and the door shut behind us, which made us stop and look to see why. Within just a few seconds, it sounded like someone was on the other side of that door shaking it like they were going to rip it off of its hinges. Sadly, we had just cut off our cameras because we were wrapping up the investigation in that area, so all we have is audio—of the door and of us screaming/running (Yes, we ran!). People who were watching the live stream online talked about it for days afterward. It was awesomely freaky.

Another great experience that we had was at The Wheatlands Plantation right here in East TN. Three of us were sitting in the main parlor when we all heard footsteps coming from above us. The only other person in the house was in the basement, and the steps came from right over our heads. We tried to debunk this one, but couldn't. Definitely a memorable experience.

One of the best pieces of evidence that always comes to mind when people ask is an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) that was caught in a man's home during a preliminary investigation. He was talking about his nephew, Cody, being afraid to stay at his house, and in the middle of their conversation, you hear a man's voice say, "Stay all night, Cody." I was shocked, to say the least, when I heard this for the first time because we didn't hear it at the time. I still get chills just thinking about it. We caught another class-A EVP at the same man's house during the same interview. I was the only female there, and my recorder was on a table between us all. We caught an eerie EVP that sounded like an old lady saying, "Let me outta here." It ran chills down my spine. We have both of these EVPs on our evidence page if you would like to listen to them. The footsteps from Wheatlands are on there, too, as well as a few others.

We love investigating the paranormal and sharing any evidence that we may catch. We have investigated many homes and businesses and our services are always free. If anyone ever tries to charge you money to investigate your home, look for another team. Reputable teams do not charge any type of fee.
For more pictures and paranormal updates,
like our facebook page or
follow a few of us on twitter: 
Janae   Jim   Larry
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

My Ghost Story


 
A lot of people ask me how I got involved in the paranormal or why I'm a 'ghost hunter'. I think my reason for getting involved in it is the same as many other investigators; I've had an experience. And when you experience something you can't explain, you want answers. So when people ask me why, I share my ghost story.

As a teenager, we lived in the second oldest town in Tennessee—the beautiful town of Dandridge. Shortly after moving into our house, we noticed some strange things happening. My little brother, who was around one or two years old at the time, would look into his dark bedroom and talk (gibber-jabber) to someone who we couldn't see. Then things started getting moved, usually while we were asleep or not at home. I came home from school one day to find the drawers under my bed pulled out and my clothes hanging out of them, pulled right out into the floor, yet no one had been in my room. And my mom couldn't find her tea, only to find it in the oven a couple of days later. In the oven! We would also hear noises, especially whistling, that seemed to come out of nowhere. It was always something, and something strange.

I remember being pretty frightened, especially at night. It felt like someone was always watching me. I was so scared that I rigged a thin rope up to my light so that I wouldn't have to walk from my light switch to my bed in the dark at bedtime. We all pretty much knew that we weren't alone.

Our house had been used as slave quarters during the Civil War, and the house at the end of the street had been used as a hospital. Civil War relics had also been found in our yard with metal detectors, so we knew that the area we lived in had probably been very populated by soldiers at one point in time. We knew about the Battle of Dandridge, we just didn't think it would affect us so many years later.

Sharing our experiences with family members prompted one of them to contact a friend of hers who was a sensitive. We had never talked to a sensitive or psychic before, so we didn't know what to expect. But we were curious, so we let her come to our home to do a reading, not thinking too much about what she may find, because honestly, we were a bit skeptical. She proved us wrong.

She wasn't told anything about us or our experiences, just that we thought our house was haunted. As she walked in, we just stood back and let her do her thing. The first place she went to was my little brother's room, which I was sure was just a coincidence. But then she went on to tell us the name of a woman who supposedly stayed in that room, and that she was waiting for her son to return from the war. But what really blew our minds was when she told us that the lady wasn't looking out the window, that she was sitting by a door. What she couldn't see, because it was covered by curtains and a changing table, was the old frame . . . of a door. The house had underwent a lot of renovations over the years, and that just happened to be one of them.

She proceeded into our kitchen, where she blew our mind, yet again. "I feel like I'm standing outside," she said. "This used to be a back porch." Yes, yes it was. "And I see a boy . . . whittling wood. Whistles? I see him whittling whistles." Well, that explained a lot. My mom and I were just staring at each other with our mouths open. This lady not only sensed spirits, but she knew structural things about our house that she couldn't have known. But that wasn't all.

Before she left, she gave us the names of the spirits she had felt; one was the lady's name, and the other was of a soldier she felt was on the property. And I knew first hand that we had a ghost outside because it had chased me across our neighbors yard one night—funny story, actually. Anyway, we ended up doing some research, hoping to find these names, doubtful that we would. But guess what? We did. The soldier's name was listed on a hospital record as having been a patient . . . in the very hospital that was at the end of our street.

For several years we lived with the ghosts who resided with us in our home and on our property. The psychic had said they were harmless, for the most part, and just wanted us to know they were there. Oh, we knew. That's when the paranormal became our normal.

As a paranormal investigator, I empathize with our clients, knowing how scary it can be to have things happen that seem to be out of your control. That is why our team, Eyewitness Paranormal, volunteer our services to help those experiencing paranormal activity, either to debunk some things, putting their mind at ease, or to document proof of paranormal activity so that they know, and can prove to others, that they're not crazy.

If you have your own ghost story that you would like to share,
feel free to share it on our facebook page.
 
 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Love Never Dies

I do my best thinking (and singing) in the shower. It's like the water washes away the thoughts that cause my mind to race and the tension that causes my neck to hurt, making it easier for ideas to flow. And last night was no different, except for the fact that it was 1:00 a.m. . . . and that I heard the voice of a loved who has been dead for several years.

I'm no psychic, so I normally don't converse with the dead, but I do think that they try to communicate with us; either through a song, familiar smell, special symbols, or even our thoughts and dreams. So I wasn't too surprised when after my shower, as I stuck a Q-tip in my ear, that I heard my aunt, who was like a mom to me, say my name . . . just like she would have if she was alive and saw me sticking anything bigger than my elbow in my ear. It was just a thought, but it was her. And, of course, I began to cry.

I wish she was here. To see how big the kids are now. To hug them and watch birds with them again. To read my books. To fuss at me when I go outside with a wet head. Just here. But then I have to remind myself that she is here. When I randomly hear that horrible George Jones song that she used to torture me with when I was little, when I smell her, when the kids talk about her, or when I think of her—she's right here.

Love never dies, even though the ones who held that love do. The love we have for them lives within us, so it will linger on as long as we do, in our hearts, our memories, haunting us when we hear their name or a song that makes us think of them. But also reminding us that they will forever be a part of us. They are here, they see us, just like always . . . it's just a different kind of always.

 



"Just 'cause you converted from one form to another doesn't make you any less of a person. It's like drivin' a car. I can get around better and do a lot more in my car, but I'm the same person whether I'm in it or just walkin'. . . . You've just lost your car, that's all." —Max, from For Always
 
 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Writing A Book & Getting It Published

Since finding a publisher for my first novel, for which I am very grateful, I have had several people ask me how I did it. How did I publish a book? Well, the first thing you have to do is write it. And writing a book does not involve just putting words down on paper or typing them on your computer . . . it's telling a story and telling it well. If it doesn't flow, it's got to go!

I have always had a desire to write, whether it be poetry, or just short stories for my mom when I was little. I even wrote about my first child birthing experience, which I will have to edit and share some day. So it's not like I just woke up one day and said, "I think I'll write a book." It was in me all along, it just took me a while to realize it. And when the idea for my first novel came to me, I toyed with different story lines, plots, and characters, but only in my head. Then one day it hit me—you have got to write this stuff down. And so my journey into authorhood begins.

First, I downloaded free writing software (yWriter) from Spacejock. Unlike Word, this allows you to take notes, do outlines, list characters and bios for each, and other important things that a writer needs to keep track of. This software also converts your work over to a Word document, so when you're ready to print or submit it to agencies, it's ready to go.

Next, I edited my work . . . twice. Then I passed it along to a few beta readers (Thank you Nova, Sharon and Beverly!) to make sure it flowed well, didn't have grammatical errors that I had missed, and to give me an overall review. After that, I edited yet again. At this point, I was satisfied enough to feel comfortable starting the submission process, which is, to me, the hardest part. This is where many authors give up.

The submission process consists mainly of three things:
1. Find an agent/publishing company that you feel would be a good match for your work. (I did this through Google searches and writers' blogs.)
2. Check their guidelines for submissions (Follow them exactly!) and submit your work. Most are online submissions, which makes it rather easy. (Get ready to write the dreaded query letter.)
3. And then you wait.

It takes some authors a very long time to get an offer on their book, if they even get an offer at all. It's even more difficult for first-time authors, but it is possible—I am proof. (Thank you Limitless Publishing!) And if all else fails, and writing is your passion, there is always self publishing. CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing appear to be great avenues to get your work out there to readers. So never give up!

Every writer's experience is different; this one happens to be mine. ☺
 
 
For more information about me and my
(soon to be) published series, click here.
 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Afraid To Sleep

After recently being diagnosed with sleep apnea, I am now afraid to sleep. When my Doctor first sent me home with an oxygen monitor, I didn't think it would show anything, but it did; my oxygen drops really low when I sleep. Okay, so what now?

He set up my first sleep study, which showed that I stopped breathing an average of forty-nine times an hour (an hour!). I was shocked. I knew something was going on, but that's a lot of non-breathing time. At first I was glad to know, finally having a possible cause, and hopefully a fix, for several problems I was having. But now, when bedtime rolls around, it's a different story; I think I slept better not knowing.

A couple of people who found out that I was going to have a sleep study done laughed, telling me it was useless. One even said that sleep apnea wasn't even real, that it was just something the medical community had made up. I pondered their opinions, considering cancelling my appointment, especially since I was dreading it. The thought of a stranger watching me sleep was a less than pleasant thought. But after having three (not one, but three) Doctors explain how sleep apnea can lead to or cause heart and kidney disease, heart palpitations, energy and memory, weight gain, and in severe cases, even death, I decided to let a stranger watch me sleep.

My first study wasn't bad at all, except for the cost. I had it done at a sleep center that was located in the hospital that my Doctor's office is in—super convenient. At this location, it came in at over $4,000, and I had to pay 20% of that. But I laid down the big bucks and went through with it. I had to be there at 8:30 that evening so that I could sit and wait until 11:00 for them to hook me up. So, I just sat back and did nothing but watch TV for a while, which was a rare occurrence. Then at 11:00, she came in and hooked twenty-four wires to me. The only downside to this is the gunk they used to attach them to my scalp, which is like a mixture of Vaseline and wax. I was surprised that I was able to sleep like this, especially when I have trouble going to sleep anyway, but I did.

A couple of days later, a nurse called and left a message wanting to set up a second sleep study. What? I didn't know that this was the usual protocol, but come to find out now, it is. After stomping my feet and banging my fists on the counter, I called to inform the nurse that a second test was a no-go for me. I couldn't afford to shell out another $800, which would mean that the first $800 I had already spent would be for nothing. Luckily, she referred me to another sleep center that she thought would be less expensive, which I wish they would've done to begin with. This one is further away, but I am willing to drive forty-five minutes further, seeing as how their study is half as much as the first location's. (So if you have to have a sleep study done, approve it with your insurance provider and see what your costs are going to be for two tests, not just one, in the event you are diagnosed with it.)

And now, I wait . . . wait to see if I die in my sleep before I can have the second study done, which will involve me sporting a stylish CPAP machine. This test will show them what settings I do better (actually breath) with. Maybe they'll have one that plays ocean sounds; now that would be a plus.


Anyone of any age and size can get sleep apnea
If you have questions, or think you may have sleep apnea, 
visit http://www.sleepapnea.org and/or talk to your Doctor.
 
The above information was from my experience only. Having  had several people ask me what my experience has been, I decided to share it with you.
Your experience and/or sleep apnea severity may differ from mine.

 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ghost hunters are not evil . . . well, most of us aren't.

Being a Christian Paranormal Investigator seems like an oxymoron to some people. I have heard that 'the Holy Ghost is the only ghost there is . . . anything else is of the devil'. Well, I don't have all the answers, and I'm not all knowing, but I do beg to differ, seeing as how I would never go chasing the devil. (I shudder at the thought.)

With the recent influx of paranormal shows, such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, just to name a couple, people from all walks of life have taken interest, not only as fans of these shows, but as investigators. There's probably not a single town that doesn't have at least one resident paranormal group .

When I hear that we are 'chasing the devil' or 'conjuring evil', I get really offended, especially when I have a hard time just watching a movie that contains an evil plot. (I think I'm the only Paranormal Investigator who has never seen The Exorcist.) There is a vast difference in searching for answers to paranormal phenomena and worshiping the devil. Most respected and professional Investigators only research, document, and analyze paranormal phenomena. That's it. We do not hold séances, use a Ouija board, or do anything else that may intensify activity or be classified as conjuring. If the activity is really bad, clients may be referred  to someone who can do a cleansing, but even this is a debatable topic. I, personally, don't see how burning sage will make a spirit leave your home. Burning hair, on the other hand . . . now that will clear a room.

I don't think that people who have never experienced unexplained activity will ever understand why we do what we do. Having lived in a home where we did experience unexplained activity (i.e. things moving, noises, whistles, etc.), I wanted answers. What is causing this? Is it a ghost? Is it energy? What is it? And I know that this is the main reason other Paranormal Investigators do what they do—they, like me, want answers.

So, the next time someone you meet tells you they 'hunt ghosts', don't be so quick to judge. You may some day hear a voice when no one is there, or find your things moved when no one was home, and we will be the first ones you call.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Website Production

After reading over and over again that I needed a website (even though my book hasn't been published—yet), I finally bought my domain and set one up. With the advise of fellow friend and businessman, Jim McGhee, I went with www.1and1.com. The one I chose cost around $12.99/month (they have one cheaper), and if you go ahead and pay for an entire year, you don't have to pay an extra fee for the site domain. I went with the middle grade because of some of the perks it included . . . and $13.00 is like eating out for lunch, which I found to be pretty doable. (I'll just skip a lunch or two a month.)

It was easy to set up and is easy to update. It also links your site to your social media profiles, such as facebook & twitter, as well as links to photos. They have a wide variety of stock photos, but it's also easy to upload your own. So over all, I'm pleased with it so far.
Thanks, Jim!

My new site ---> www.JanaeMitchell.com