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Thursday, August 2, 2018

#ThursdayThoughts with Jacqueline Seewald!

Good Morning Friends!

It is ALWAYS a pleasure to welcome a dear friend to our blog and today's guest is no exception. Jacqueline Seewald has shared treasures with us and been in our spotlight but today she's here to share some thoughts so please give her a huge WELCOME!

As I grow older, I can’t help noticing the rapid changes in our society. Technology has changed our lives in both good and bad ways. I still refuse to use a smart phone although most of the people I know can’t understand this. As of now, I keep a flip phone just in case of emergencies and still use a landline. You can’t find a telephone booth anymore and so you really must have your own phone when you travel about.

Last Thanksgiving, one son and daughter-in-law invited the family and some friends over for dinner. I couldn’t help noticing that one of our daughter-in-law’s friends sat down after the meal on a couch with her husband and two sons. They did not speak or look at each other or anyone else. They simply took out their phones and proceeded to text or surf the net. I found this troubling.

I set my latest young adult novel, WITCH WISH from Black Opal Books, in 1985, a time when teens were communicating verbally with others not using electronic devices. The story is set in motion with a bit of magic but it actually examines the human psyche. Although the protagonist is a teenager, the novel is a good read for adults, like my two previous young adult novels published by Clean Reads/Astrea Press, THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER and STACY’S SONG.   

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of WITCH WISH: 

Central New Jersey, 1985
My sister Ailene pulled the car to the side of the road, reached over and opened the door on the passenger side.
“Get out right now!” Ailene spoke through gritted teeth.
“No way!”
“Yes, way. You’re an obnoxious brat. I don’t have to put up with you, and I won’t for another minute.”
Maybe I had gone a tad overboard in the rude department today, but she’d deserved it. I had to stand and wait while she giggled and gossiped with her airhead friends by the lockers for what seemed like forever. I stood there being ignored and feeling like a leper. Then finally when she finally turned to me all she said was: “Come on. Hurry up.” Like she’d done me this great honor giving me a ride home.
Now she was all indignation. Well, I wasn’t going to stand for it. “I’m not getting out of the car,” I said.
Unfortunately Ailene’s taller and weighs more than I do. She shoved me out, hurled my backpack after me and drove off, burning rubber. She didn’t even look back. So there I stood at the side of a rural road with no idea exactly where I was.
Ailene had veered off the main highway when traffic stopped. There’d been an accident on the highway. No way of getting through any time soon. That pissed her off too. She’s not the most adaptable individual.
It was a warm afternoon. I didn’t mind walking, but the road was totally unfamiliar. I’d have to travel back in the direction of the highway. From there, I could find my way. Maybe my sister had done me a favor. Anything was better than being around her. She found me annoying but I felt the same way about her.
 As I walked, I fantasized.
Cheerleader shot dead at football game--mystery as to who pulled trigger. As a student of journalism I considered this possible headline. Were I to murder my sister, I wouldn't want to be caught.
Don’t judge me in haste. If you had a sister like Ailene, you'd probably hate her too. I’d like to say Ailene was nasty, selfish and spoiled, but it wouldn't be true. I have my share of faults. Lying isn't one of them. The truth? Ailene was polite, intelligent, beautiful, and even charming—when it suited her.
So why did I hate her? Maybe because she was everything I wished I could be but didn’t think I ever would be. Someone like Ailene, who was so much better than most people, you envied, idolized or hated her. It wasn’t easy living in the same home with perfection day after day.
A house came into my line of vision. It was an old Colonial with white clapboard shingles and black shutters that had paint peeling. There was an old woman sitting in a chair with all kinds of items set out on folding tables in cardboard boxes. I guess she was having a garage sale. I figured I’d stop and ask for directions back to the highway. She was kind of creepy looking dressed all in black. But she was the only person around. So I walked over to her. She stood up, smiling through crooked yellowed teeth.
“I’m kind of lost,” I said.
She nodded. “I can see that.” She had dark, penetrating eyes. She studied me in an eerie way that made my blood freeze.
“Can you direct me back to Route 516?”
“Certainly. But first why don’t you look at these things I have for sale. They are unique.”
“Sure,” I said, figuring to humor the old gal.
I began looking around. She had a lot of weird stuff, old crap that I had no interest in. But I figured if I offered to buy something I maybe could get the directions quicker. So I glanced at the stuff on one of the tables. A polished wooden box caught my eye.
“I see you like my music box. Actually, I have a bit of a collection.” She picked up the box and wound it up. “It plays Fur Elise by Beethoven.”
I listened and liked what I heard. “How much does it cost?”
“Whatever you can afford.”
I was surprised. I checked the pocket of my jeans. I had some allowance money with me but there wasn’t much. “I’ve only got four dollars.”
“Just the right amount,” she assured me. “There is just one thing about the box itself.” She hesitated. “You see, how should I put this, the box has a certain unusual quality. If I bestow ownership upon you, the music box will grant you a wish.”
I blinked and stared at her open-mouthed. Clearly the old lady was a few slices short of a loaf.
“Sure,” I said, trying to appear agreeable and humor her. “Great.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?” She gave me a knowing smile. Then she laughed, except I swear it sounded more like a cackle. The wind lifted her long, steel gray hair giving her an otherworldly look. “It’s all right. I don’t mind. But I think I should warn you. Once you open the box and make a wish out loud, you won’t be able to take it back. You get only one wish, you understand. So think carefully about it. Make certain you wish for something you truly want.”
You can read more about the novel here:




Comments welcome!

Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Nineteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, READER’S DIGEST, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, GUMSHOE REVIEW, LIBRARY JOURNAL, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Her writer’s blog can be found at: http://jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com

Thanks so much Jacqueline for visiting with us today!

I pray you've enjoyed Jacquie's post as much as I have friends and that you'll check back weekly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God Bless.


kaybee said...

Jacqueline, good insight into the teenage mind. Especially a teen with a stellar older sister.
Oh, I can relate to your thoughts on technology. I was chatting with a friend last night and we realized that the world really has changed, when you exchange contact information. "So and so is on Facebook but doesn't e-mail, so and so e-mails but doesn't text OR do Facebook, so and so will text but it's from a flip phone." SO much more complicated, although it's easier when you finally do know how and how not to reach a person.
It's all headed toward putting a chip in our heads. Mark my words. Or Meet George Jetson.
Without phone booths, where does Superman change? Without big cameras, how can you annoy a celebrity? And--my favorite--without newspapers, what do you cut up to make a ransom note?
Kathy Bailey

Susan Oleksiw said...

Jacquie, you certainly captured the problems with our current lives and technology. I can't get used to seeing people sitting next to each other and staring at their phones. But that's the least of what bothers me with today's world. Soon, if not already, the world before cell phones will seem idyllic, a strange land unfamiliar to most people. Good luck with your new book. I hope it does well.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I appreciate your comments. My husband now calls himself Analog Man as opposed to Digital. Your comment about cameras brings up another significant point. Everyone takes lots of photos nowadays, but since they are digital, few people bother to print them. I see this as a negative as well. We lose our memories.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Susan,

I strive in the new YA novel to provide a sense of the differences between today and less than 50 years ago. I want to give readers something to think about as well as provide a good story.

Maris said...

Oh, Jacqueline, what an enticing excerpt. I want to know what he wished for. And I certainly remember those pre-electronics days. As you said, the changes that have occurred over the years have been both good and bad. Good luck with the book.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt from the beginning of WITCH WISH.
I hope readers will discover the novel.

Zoe Tasia said...

Great blog! I enjoyed the topic and excerpt and look forward to reading the book.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Thanks for the positive comments!

Kathleen Kaska said...

Great excerpt, Jacqueline. I can heard the teenager talking, real and true!

Alina K. Field said...

On balance I think my smart phone has resulted in much more communication with my friends and family, especially my children. My friends and I use group texts a lot to stay in touch. Best of luck with the book!

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you found the teenage "voice" authentic.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Alina,

You sound like my sister-in-law who says she has to text or she'd never be in contact with her grown children. That's definitely a positive for some.

Mary A Felkins said...

The excerpt tells me this intriguing novel was written by someone who clearly knows the mind of an adolescent and how to draw the reader into a mystery. Always wonderful to be introduced to new authors. God bless your writing.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thank you, Mary, I'm glad you found the excerpt intriguing!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Jacqueline, I've observed the same phenomenon when out at restaurants, etc. One day my hubby and I were in our local pizza place when he noticed a group of teens texting at their table and not talking to one another. Mike stopped and asked them why they weren't talking to each other. the one young man said he was texting the girl across the table. Mike told him to put the phone away and just talk to her. "You can't look into her pretty eyes, son, if you're looking at your phone." LOL!

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I so agree with your husband! And we also find this happening all the time. Our oldest granddaughter is thirteen and totally glued to texting on her phone. I fear that teens are losing the ability to communicate verbally. But I do see many adults walking along texting, oblivious to their surroundings, sometimes nearly walking into the paths of cars as they cross a street. It's disturbing. Sometimes drivers are doing the same thing. In our town there has been an increase in pedestrian fatalities.

Deborah Piccurelli said...

Great excerpt, and I'm with you all the way about modern electronics.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thank you, Deborah. Glad you're with me! As to the excerpt, for me, the hardest thing is getting the beginning of a book right. I want to draw readers into the book and so write and rewrite.

Susan Coryell said...

Read and enjoyed Witch Wish. Jacqueline's strong teen characters and realistic depiction of family dysfunction will resonate with young adult readers, but also their parents, teachers and coaches and counselors. Themes of finding self, adapting to self-assessed needs for change and shunning of superficial values are all involved. A great read and a nice post.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Thank you so much for your comments about Witch Wish. I'm so glad you enjoyed the novel.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


A final comment: thank you for visiting, commenting and offering encouragement.
Pam, special thanks to you for hosting and helping myself and so many other writers!