About Me

Who I am

 

Jerrod S. Smelker is the owner/operator/writer for Last Leaf Publishing and Wicked Harvest Books. Author of “Vigilant in Today’s World” series of crime prevention books, “Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters & Macabre” series of spooky short stories and books along with numerous other books such as “Tales From the Beyond” HCP series, "Heaven's Heroes" and soon to be published “Nina” and “Orphan King”.

 

He grew up in Ionia, a quaint small town smack dab in the middle of Michigan between Grand Rapids and the state’s capital, Lansing.

 

He enjoys history, writing, reading, fine cigars and pipes, craft beers and hard ciders, bourbon and moonshine, good coffee (with French Vanilla creamer), and Michigan road trips.

 

He is a small town boy at heart whose soul is forever deeply rooted in the fall season and the Halloween holiday. He currently lives in Grand Blanc Michigan with his wife Shana, kids and cats.

 

He can be reached at jsmelker@hotmail.com

MY FAVORITE STORIES & READS

 

Paddle Your Own Canoe - Nick Offerman (Yes, from Parks and Rec)

Capital Gaines - Chip Gaines (Yes, that guy from HGTV "Fixer Upper")

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

The Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw

The Greatest Generation Speaks - Tom Brokaw

October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween

Wicked Witches: An Anthology of New England Horror Writers

Haunted Lansing - Jenn Carpenter

Dark World - Zak Bagans (from Ghost Adventures)

 

The Handbook for the Recently Deceased (HA!! BeetleJuice!!)

 

More to come...

 

 

 

MY FAVORITE PODCASTS

Monsters Among Us

Hill City Paranormal

Creepy Caffeine

Hillbilly Horror Stories

Graveyard Tales

Weird Darkness

So Dead

Paranormal Mysteries

Dead Zone Drive-In

History Goes Bump

Preserve Halloween Podcast

 

 

More to come...

 

 

MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS & STUFF

 

 

Deadtime Stories: True Crime and Other Books - Bookstore, Lansing, MI

Cigars International - All things cigars! - Internet

Bones Coffee - Some of the best flavored coffee out there and cool packaging

Greywick Lane - Awesome spooky candles, body butters and sprays - Etsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY FAVORITE WRITING QUOTES FROM AUTHORS

 

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
– Stephen King

 

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway

 

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.
– Somerset Maugham

 

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
– C. J. Cherryh

 

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
– Robert Benchley

 

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.
– Ray Bradbury

 

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs

 

People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.
– Harlan Ellison

 

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner

 

Writing is its own reward.
– Henry Miller

 

You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
– Larry Niven

 

 

 

Q&A WITH AUTHOR SMELKER

 

Q: How can I get an autographed book by Jerrod S. Smelker?

A: You want an autographed book? Well, gee thanks. I’m humbled. Come to a book signing. The nearest book signings can be seen in the "Appearances" tab.

 

Q: Will any of Jerrod's books or stories be made into movies?

A: HA!! Well, one can hope, right? Many times when I write, I see the scenes played out in my head like a movie, then I start writing. Personally I can see my stories as movies...good movies, but Hollywood...well, I guess we'll have to wait and see. Please feel free to send any of my stories or books to a Hollywood agent. 

 

Q: Is it true that Jerrod writes horror?

A: Oh it’s true. I didn’t always start out that way (see “How did Jerrod get his start writing” below) It’s hard for me to say that I write horror because that word used to define movies, stories and books is so broad. As in, I prefer to use the word spooky or scary because the majority of my stories don’t have all the gore, blood and guts that other’s do (granted some of my stories do involve a little). Plus, I’m more of a monster, creature, weird stuff rather than actual crazy people committing crimes of torture and murder. Give me the classic Dracula, Frankenstein and paranormal types rather than the Saw, Devils Rejects, Chainsaw Massacre type. Don’t get me wrong, those blood and guts movies and stories have their place and I have watched the movies or read the books, but I guess for me, I generally prefer just the scary spooky stuff, the spine-tingling suspense and thriller type stories.

When I started writing, I never envisioned myself as a horror or scary story writer…and then, I decided to write one the fall of 2017 (Stone Hollow from Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters & Macabre – Series One). Once I did, I got hooked and couldn’t stop writing them.

I do write more than just horror though…I’m working on a number of short stories and books that have nothing to do with the spookiness of monsters and creatures of the night.

 

Q: Does Jerrod prefer eBooks or Paperback?

A: Well to be honest, I am still the “Gotta hold it in my hands, feel the cover and pages and smell the paper” kind of guy. Perhaps someday I will embrace the digital aspect of books. I know a lot of people do and love it. I guess I just like to look at my bookshelf and see the book itself. I like the looks of old books that have been around awhile with every rip, tear and stain.

 

Q: What’s Jerrod’s writing area look like?

A: Well, currently I have been writing wherever I can…on the couch, porch, table, and living room desk with the laptop. I also write down lots of ideas on my phone, a leather bound journal and lots of note pads scattered everywhere. I recently moved my writing into a new den/office. The kids moved to the basement (not to worry, I built them nice comfy bedrooms down there) and I got to take their old room for a den. I have a nice big desk, bookshelf, and a view of the front yard where I can watch the birds. 

 

Q: What does Jerrod like to read?

A: It’s strange, by my reading habits change quite a bit. I have gone years without picking up a book and reading, then again, sometimes I read four or five books a month. It comes and goes. Currently I’m reading a lot of paranormal, ghost and Halloween books. I’ve been hooked on writing spooky stories so I guess naturally, I am hooked on reading them as well…that goes with movies also…I’m gravitating towards the horror and strange selections more and more.

 

Q: How did Jerrod get his start writing?

A: I honestly don’t remember the exact date I got started. I knew I enjoyed writing when I was in my high school’s English class…although to be honest, I didn’t retain all of the writing rules like adjectives, pronouns, comma splice and so on. In fact, I didn’t retain much of it during my college creative writing classes either. Most of my life I have always enjoyed writing, but when it comes to knowing exactly how to write…well…that’s a different issue. It’s basically like me playing the drums; I can play all kinds of songs on the drums, but I don’t know exactly how to play the drums…I don’t know rudiments, how to read music, etc. For writing, all I can say is thank God for Spellcheck, a Thesaurus and a great editor!

 

Q: What does Jerrod do when he’s not writing?

A: Usually when I’m not writing I’m thinking about writing or jotting down notes about story ideas, titles, plots, and characters. Or I’m talking to people about writing or trying to pick their brains on story ideas. Otherwise I’m constantly on the computer working on my website. I also try to accomplish household projects and “must dos” around the house. I relax by sitting on the porch with my wife and drinking coffee in the mornings or an ice cold craft beer, hard cider or cocktail at night. Sometimes a nice cigar from my humidors or enjoying some smooth aromatic pipe tobacco in a pipe is in order.

 

Q: Where did Jerrod grow up? What was his childhood like?

A: I was blessed to have been born in the great state of Michigan (Thank you mom and dad). Born in Hastings, but then when I was about 2 years old, after my parents divorced, my mom, older sister and I moved to Ionia (where my mother was originally from). My mother’s parents owned a bicycle and locksmith shop there and had since the early 1940’s.

We lived here and there in Ionia and eventually settled on a farm outside of town when I was about 4 years old. I lived there until I was 10. Farm living wasn’t the easiest, especially as a young kid, but it did help me build character and learn what hard work was all about. Every morning before school; feed the cows, feed the chickens, collect the eggs, bring in firewood for the wood burning stove, and on and on. And guess what I did when I got home from school? Yup, same chores. I did have some fun there though. We had a large pool, rode bikes, had Halloween parties and I had a tree fort.

When I was 10 we moved to a trailer park even farther outside of town. Now, let me preface this with saying that the trailer park was extremely respectable. The people who lived there really took care of their places, their lawns and each other. There were lots of rules on what you could and couldn’t do. Anyway, I lived there until I graduated high school (Ionia High home of the Bulldogs). It’s funny, because for 4th grade through 6th grade I attended a one room school house. You know like Little House on the Prairie type. One teacher, 25 students of all age groups, brick building with an awesome enormous bell on top.

I’d say I was pretty much a typical kid growing up. I played out in the woods all the time, played Army with my friends, rode bicycles, explored new places, watched movies, listened to rock music, put model airplanes and cars together, played the drums, and repaired my vehicles over and over again. I had parents and step-parents who loved me, lots of grandparents and great family and friends.

 

Q: Is it true that Jerrod plays the drums and was in a band?

A: Yes and Yes. Although I don’t play drums these days, I did play for quite a while. Self-taught when I was a little lad and never learned to read music; I played by ear. As in, I listened to songs and memorized them…which took a lot of practice. I was drawn to drums for some reason (even though my father was a guitar player) because I liked the fact you had to use both feet and both hands.

I was indeed in a few bands…I played with my Pops and Step-mother here and there in a country band, but most notably I was in the Grand Rapids Michigan area cover band “Borrowed Time” for 13 years from 2002 to 2015. We played blues, classic rock, a few country tunes, 80’s rock and a few modern songs. I even sang lead vocals on Tommy TuTone’s Jenny Jenny 867-5309 and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.

 

Q: What are some of Jerrod’s dislikes and pet-peeves?

A: I try my best to be a positive person who pushes away or stays away from negativity; however there are certainly a few things that get under my skin. Negative argumentative loud people, bullies, people with an “I’m better than you” attitude, politics (don’t ever ask me to talk politics), rude and inconsiderate behavior, obnoxious people, bad drivers, freeways (yes, freeways…I hate them, very stressful), flying, uninformed people who think they know everything about everything, disrespecting people, icy roads, people who talk during movies or shows, bad speaking skills, laziness, control freaks, people who think they are right all the time, brussel sprouts (gross), getting older…to name a few.

 

Q: What’s Jerrod’s favorite season and holiday?

A: Simple; Fall (or Autumn) and Halloween. I'll elaborate a bit later on this one.

 

Q: When it comes to writing, what are Jerrod’s future goals?

A: Too many to write down. HA!! I’m proud that I have a few books and a few short stories that are published…that was quite the journey from writing to self-publishing and the journey is on-going with that. With Vigilant In Today’s World: Volume 1 done, I plan to continue the volumes with 2-5. I have 2 done, just needs editing and so on. 3,4 & 5 are still in the outline stages with a few chapters written. The Wicked Harvest books such as Michigan Monsters & Macabre series are very enjoyable to write and my hope is that there will be many in the series. My plan is to also write and publish more series books within Wicked Harvest as well as many other short stories and books. I would also like to get more into writing articles for Michigan based magazines. Who knows what the future will bring, but I really hope to still be writing a lot in the years to come.

 

Q: What else can we learn about Mr. Smelker?

A: I consider myself pretty much an open book (no pun intended…or maybe)…

I carry a handkerchief in my back left pocket at all times…and yes it hangs out. Most of the time it’s white or black, but for October I have an orange one, for St. Patrick’s Day I have a bright green one, for Breast Cancer month/days I have a hot pink one and so on.

I have to have chapstick or lip balm all of the time. I have some in my pocket, in my desk, my car, briefcase, etc. …and it’s always Blistex.

I have note pads and pens everywhere…my bathroom, car, bedside, shirt pocket…I never know when an idea will pop in my head so I have to be ready to write it down for later…because if I don’t…I will forget.

Currently I have a few desktop cigar humidors full of cigars. I love the infused ones like coffee, honey, vanilla and whiskey. 

Currently I have 30 jars of pipe tobacco ranging in aromatic flavors like Crème Brulee, chocolate nougat, chocolate mousse, Christmas Spice and I have 9 pipes…a corncob, Peterson Kilarney B10... and one is a Peterson pipe known as a “Dracula”.

I have a woodworking and craft shop in my basement with a side-business called “Smelker’s Craftsmith Co.” I make lots of things from holiday signs and bottles to toy boxes and custom pieces.

Both of my arms have several tattoos and eventually both will be full sleeves of ink.

I live with three cats: Tuesday, Talley (who we actually call Tuna for some reason) and our newest black cat Voodoo. 

 

 

 

Want to know more? Shoot me an email at jsmelker@hotmail.com