Winding Down Well!

Written a couple of weeks ago in Orlando Florida:

I hate goodbyes. The real ones anyway. And June has become for us the beginning of our second half. I think I expected the last official day of work to be the beginning, but as we are needed for other things less and less, as some people move on way before the finish line (without even saying goodbye), because quite frankly, we are no longer of any use to them, well, I guess there’s no point sitting around moping.

There are other people we love that we can pour our limited resources into and there is much enjoyment to be gained in the stopping to soak it all now, instead of only when July rolls around.

So we are counting our blessings and making sure we stop to be with those who will follow us through to our second half.

We want to wind down well, to say the goodbyes in the best ways we can, and we are soooo thankful for the beautiful relationships that are true and genuine and rich.

To those who love us just as we are, and who’ve been so great as these changes unfold, thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Advertisements

Mild Malta Mayhem!

Malta Heading Branded

We’ve fallen in love with Malta. Up until a few short months ago, it had been a theoretical place for us, somewhere we’d heard of, near Italy maybe?

Then out of nowhere, it became a very real possibility to spend a couple of years being just the two of us. No longer being or doing all the things others needed us to be. No longer trying to squash our faith, family or future into the dregs of life left behind from a busy (yet exciting and fulfilling) corporate life. There is much we are giving up for this life stage, much we will lose. But more than anything, we believe we will gain much much more.

More time to write, time to find ourselves and heal our souls, time to put into practice all that we believe and have learned. Time with our children and grandchildren. Time to breath!

It is by no means an easy way out, and there is much that is really hard about what we are doing. So don’t expect this to a fairy tale journey.

For starters, why Malta?

Europe is somewhere that #MrS has some great work connections and offers of interest in the portfolio that he has built up so passionately over the past couple of decades. He has grown an amazing amount of wisdom, experience and know-how, and neither of us wants to see that wasted. It would be a devastating loss of so much if that was to suddenly switch off. work to keep his mind ticking Neither of us has any heritage in Europe close enough to allow us to live here.

He simply can’t keep working the extent that he was and have the time and headspace left over to do all the things we believe we are called to do, for family, for God, for each other. There is no possibility of a middle road. So to keep working with a select group of companies and individuals makes a whole lot of sense on a number of levels. The least of which to keep his mind ticking.

But neither of us has any heritage in Europe close enough to allow us to live here. Malta stepped in to fill that gap (for a fee of course!), and suddenly we find ourselves with an opportunity to make it our base for the next few years. So we’ve come here for 10 days to check out the lie of the land, to sign papers and get a feel for what our lives will look like, and to get as many balls rolling as possible. (We call these balls Maltesers of course 🙂 🙂 🙂 )

And we’ve fallen in love! Sort of… There is soooo much of this tiny country in the middle of the Mediterranean that is absolutely incredible. The history, the culture, the people. It’s all amazing. And yet also very strange to us as well. There is either a dead calm to the place, where it feels, unlike other countries we’ve been to who have siestas, like a ghost town, or there is an endless, almost hysterical buzz. Mostly good and happy laughing and conversation sounds; but also children screeching, horns blowing, background music coming from a number of different sources, car tyres screeching, motors revving and roaring, shouting, arguing, laughing, radios, TVs, …. basically what we’ve come to describe as Mild Malta Mayhem!

We have much to get used to and it’s going to be quite the journey, but as a place to call home for a while, somewhere to build a small nest as we live truly globally for a while, this is a great place to hang our hats for a season…

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Packing up one’s life!

People keep telling me how brave we are. It feels weird, as we don’t feel brave. The theory of packing up our lives and having a season to rewind, repurpose, rewire our lives sounds to most people who’ve responded as a great idea… but brave.

Why brave? Are we stupid, blind, crazy? Am I missing yet another memo that everyone else appears to have?

There is little about what we’re doing that hasn’t been done before, and daily on social media, we are encouraged to do all these things. There is little about what we’re doing that we personally haven’t done before.

We spent the first year of our married life living in a campervan as illegal aliens in a foreign land with absolutely no money… pregnant!

This time we won’t live in it full time (next week we will be off in search of a possible small nest to use as a base), we will no doubt have a key to the van so we won’t need to jump start it every time we drive it. This time we should have a sink that works and we won’t need a wrench to open and close the sliding door. It will be pure luxury!

I’ve done 8 international moves, some of our belongings have circumnavigated the entire world over the last few decades. I thought there was nothing I didn’t know about selling houses & cars, culling, visas, home affairs and shipping. But I’m wrong…

We are talking about selling our safe spaces, dealing with 4 different countries at once, managing six different contexts on a regular basis and all the while juggling 17 balls at once, including new babies …and if we drop just one of them, even for a moment, they will all come crashing down. But I can do that, I’ve done it before…

But sometimes it feels like everything is going against us. As we speak Mr.S is driving to a lawyer in terrible traffic to have documents that have been just fine our entire lives, Apostillized! Autocorrect tells me that word doesn’t even exist. But I can tell you it does, and that lawyers can charge $750 for one document (we have 7 we need doing, but don’t worry, after the first one, the rest are only $350 each!!!). It’s like Certified copies on steroids and takes 2 days, and we need them yesterday. Thankfully someone who knows someone will do it for only a leg instead of both an arm and a leg, and we’re trying to be grateful while we choke.

It also turns out that there are apparently NO house buyers out there. This can’t be entirely true or literal (in the real sense of the word) of course but so far I’ve heard that story from almost everyone I know. And it’s not just buyers, it’s renters as well. They all up and left apparently.

I’m trying to remain optimistic but it’s tough when you feel well prepared for the nineteen doors that need knocking on, and you wisely expect that many of them won’t open easily. But I feel like I’ve smashed my face into just about all of them they are slammed shut so hard.

I’m trying not to let the voices in my head win and throw in the towel and do what everyone else does and just be normal for once. My husband tells me I like being different. I don’t, I can assure you I hate it. I just don’t know how to be the same as everyone else. I grew up missing all the memos everyone else got and had to work life out for myself. It’s hard to take the tarred road when you know what’s behind the fences along the side. Yes, it’s tough out there, but there are also so many mountains and streams and beaches and palm trees …. out there beyond the normal…

Anyway, sorry to have a gripe, but I promised to share the journey and it’s important not to make it look rosy when it isn’t. Right now it sucks!

(and sorry to use the same photo … Im tired…)

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Our Big News!!!

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 19.47.57It’s been too long since I’ve written, but it’s also been a bit hard. As many of you will know, I’m good at keeping a secret, but I’m not good at making something up to cover it. I’d rather say nothing than get all tied up in knots! So here is what has been happening and how it affects my books:

In the last two years or so, a handful of significant changes have happened in our lives:

TURNING 50:

Yes, we’ve both turned 50 in the last year or so (less for me, a little more for him). This marks for us both the middle of our adult years! How so you ask?

Well, in the last 18 months, we’ve each lost a relative which we hadn’t experienced in a very long time. I lost my uncle, who, at 83 is the youngest person to die in my father’s family, while Mr.S lost his last grandparent that same year at 96. There is a history of longevity on my mother’s side as well. This means that for both of us, accidents aside, our life expectancy is around 87. That means we each have about 37 years left on this crappy old earth, which is longer than the 30 odd years we have already been adults.

Now, while longevity and wellness do not mean the same thing by any means, our family members appear to fall into one of two categories; those who lived life till the end without ever “retiring” and those who retired young and then started coming apart at the seams quicker than I thought was possible. Those who lacked significant purpose have gone down fast … and yet not died for a very long time. Many of them spending their last decade or so bedridden (with their spouse bedridden in another room). And I use the word significant as there are all kinds of tiny little purposes in life that really don’t add up to very much.

This is not what we would like our endings to look like. My health issues are old news, but they’re not life-threatening, but I do need a lot more help if I’m to preserve my tendons and ligaments and therefore my whole body. We need to be very careful of me if I’m to last the distance in one piece (OK, that’s not going to happen, but for at least as much of it as possible).

WE READ THE BOOK:

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 13.18.02About 18 months ago we read this book called Half Time by Bob Buford. We spent the whole time nodding our heads and soaking a bunch of wisdom around the space of finishing work earlier rather than later, but NOT to retire. Rather, to do something more meaningful, significant, and which one can do right until the end.

Mr.S works very hard and always has, and he doesn’t have the kind of job that one can do part-time or in smaller doses. So continuing to do what he does but on a gentler level is not an option. But we don’t want to leave it too late to change gears either. And he works so hard there isn’t time to start anything new concurrently, (which is part of the Half Time premise).

But we have come to realize that for some people, there needs to be a season in the middle. That changing tack can be too swift or overwhelming. That we need a season to detox from the old before we can begin to build the new. A sabbatical as it were. A time to ground and breath and experiment and write and blog and publish and study and hide from the world….

We spent the first year of our married life in a WV van, so why not spend the beginning of our second half doing the same?

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.57.04.png

Over the next 6 months, we will be winding down life as we know it. The house is on the market, the car should be soon too. I am off to see the kids in a few weeks to do some groundwork there and we are off to Europe next week to do more groundwork there. There are work farewells both here and the USA, and there are belongings to sort through and cull, and so the list goes on.

Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we will find a second hand WV van to use as the shell for our new home, and I look forward to sharing the journey with you!!

But what this really means is that my husband will be back into publisher mode by then and we can start publishing again! Woohoo!!

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

Family Secrets!

screen-shot-2018-01-09-at-08-49-48.png

I stumbled on this photo today. Well, not quite in this condition, of course, I had to hide the identities of all of them even though I would LOVE to put this picture on a billboard somewhere in all its clarity and colour!

That’s the thing about Christmas and New Year, even long before social media or even the internet, it was a time to connect, share, take and send out family photos and news. This is good for many of us, we love to connect and embrace and celebrate. It is part of the core of our beings to be part of a tribe and to celebrate together.

But with 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys being sexually abused before they are adults, most of whom were/are abused by family members, this holiday season is a time of immense trauma! Why?

  • Abusers/ex-abusers are often present at these family gatherings and we are forced to be in their company and say nothing.
  • Abuse often happens when families are staying in each other’s homes, bundled into rooms and onto couches around the house. So family get-togethers are often also anniversaries of past abuse.
  • Alcohol flows, emotions are high, abusers are triggered and are more likely to “need” to act out and “self-soothe”.
  • For those same reasons, abused children’s emotions are more likely to be invisible, lost in the chaos, the booze, the fights and the general busyness. People are also busy and don’t have resources left to see or hear things that aren’t quite right around them.

The list goes on, but there is another one I want to highlight today. And that is the family letters, the photos, the gatherings captured all over social media and emails. One can ignore an uncle (or aunt) who abused us as much as possible during the year, but at this time of year their faces pop up all over the place and it can send many people into a tailspin.

screen-shot-2018-01-09-at-09-47-19.png

This is the photo I stumbled upon this morning, and here are the characters:

G is not in the actual picture, I have simply placed them at the bottom so I can explain the connections. G is someone I love. This is their story to tell, not mine, hence all the cloaks and daggers. If I had my way, I’d be shouting this from the rooftops!

A is married to D (marriage circled in pink). (F is their granddaughter through C but I’ll leave her out for now).

B is married to E (marriage circled in pink, I’ve left E out for now too).

A & B are siblings (blue line).

C is the adult child of D, stepchild of A, and parent of E. – C is also the older cousin to G.

Supposedly, this is a run of the mill family Christmas photo, shared today with lots of news. “Innocent” in so many ways. But here is what it means to G when they see it (hopefully they haven’t and won’t).

screen-shot-2018-01-09-at-09-55-43.png

Those thick orange lines are verifiable sexual abuse! We won’t even go into emotional abuse and other forms of control and manipulation within this family. But:

  • Siblings A & B each sexually abused their child and stepchild.
  • C (at 16) went on to abuse G (at 14) on a whole new level of physical sexual abuse.

Those orange lines are from G‘s own personal experiences and knowledge. But we have no choice but to ask ourselves if A abused his stepchild (C), then why not his grandchildren as well? I can’t say. If C abused G, then which of the many other cousins did they also abuse? I have no idea.

If 2 siblings sexually abused their own children, then did the other siblings in their generation also abuse? And if not sexually then in other ways. Were they also then abused themselves? Not all people who are abused go on to abuse as well, in fact, most don’t, but those who do abuse were abused one way or another themselves. Familial patterns like this one which popped up not 2 hours ago are scary!!

I feel physically ill, and my blood is boiling. But the things that boggle my mind the most about this happy snap shared with the world today are the questions in my head; Do they pretend there is no abuse? Do they all just get together and act as though nothing ever happened? Has it even stopped? Or has it been passed down to another generation? Do the spouses know? What is it like to be these people? To be C and stay within the fold and face their abuser on a very regular basis? … I don’t get it, but I understand that many people risk their own healing for the sake of remaining within the tribe. It’s all in or all out. There is no middle road.

has left from this equation entirely and at enormous cost, but it has been vital to their survival. They have never and will likely never confront this lot or the rest of the extended family. This has been the only way to stop the cycle and to protect their own children. It’s not worth taking on the whole tribe.

Whether you have chosen to remain or leave, the cost is huge. And the photos going out there during and post-Christmas can have a massive impact on so many levels…

If you too are struggling through this season of family secrets and nightmares, know you are not alone. I hear you!! If, however, you need some more than just a little encouragement right now, I highly recommend giving a shout out to Matt Pappas at “Beyond Your Past“! He’s a fabulous listener with incredible personal experience.

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Wrap Up for 2017!

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 06.45.21

Well, in theory, it’s 2 days till Christmas, …..but we can’t wait that long (and life of course, is complicated!) …so for our family, this year, today is Christmas Eve (very convenient for a Saturday), tomorrow is Christmas Day, and both Monday & Tuesday are Boxing Days 🙂

I’ll try and keep this short, as we all spending so much time reading annual newsletters and catchups, but I don’t want this opportunity to pass completely and I suspect the next week (like the last) will be spent with treasured loved one, so not much work will be done!

2017 has been an AMAZING year for us on so many levels. In January The Lion and the Peacock not only became a reality but about 6 weeks ago (and 10 months in) we crossed the 10,000 downloads line! I couldn’t have imagined that in my wildest dreams and the feedback has totally blown me away!

Mind you, if half the wonderful emails, messages and so on translated to actual Ama8on reviews and all countries could see all the reviews then it would be AMAZING. I’ve failed miserably through the year to get through to my readers how important those reviews are and that until I can get 50 on the .com site (many have left their reviews on .au / .com.uk / .ca etc which is fabulous but stupid Ama8zon doesn’t show them across the board. I don’t know how to do this better so I would be most grateful for suggestions! (and even more grateful for reviews!).

My Author Facebook Page which I only really started making something of in May this year has grown to over 500 followers, so that is also really exciting. As I’ve emersed myself in a small handful of incredible writing and reading groups like

As I’ve emersed myself in a small handful of incredible writing and reading groups like The Readers Review Room, (RRR), We Love Memoirs, (WLM), and of course the various parts of the OSFARG Family (One Stop Fiction Authors Resource Group), I have developed and become emersed in some amazing tribes. I don’t even write fiction but the OSFARG group are the most AMAZING group of authors with unbelievable resources and all run by my incredibly talented and beautiful cousin Kathryn!

So to all those people who write to ask for publishing help, you’ll know that the first places I send you to are the OSFARG and RRR groups. It’s been a great year for me in both those places with amazing support and some beautiful friendships.

There is much that I missed this year too, for all kinds of reasons, but it’s been a year of learning, growing, finding my voice and my space to a degree. Thank you to so many people (I was going to start naming names but realized how many of you there are!) who have come into my life in 2017 and made such an impact. Thank you, thank you!

There are dozens of things I wanted to do before this year is out but in the end, the opportunity to hang with some my beautiful children is just too good to pass up and I’ve been hiding under a rock for a week, …. where I plan to stay till the year ends.

2018 is going to be AMAZING! It’s all under tight wraps for now, so I can’t even hint, but watch this space!

Be safe this busy season, all of you please! And I’ll see you in January 🙂

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

Author Helen Pryke

One of the things I’m LOVING about being an author is this whole new world around what it really means to actually to put a book out there into the world! That may sound like a really obvious and basic sentence, but I’ve found an incredible appreciation for the fact that all authors are actually real people, and that for all of them there is still a long, scary, anxious journey each time they put a new book out.

I also spread my wings in terms of what I read, and then closed them round myself again. There just isn’t time in life to read all the things out there, all the time. But along the way I’ve found a bunch of authors whom I really enjoy, not just because they write really well but because they write from their hearts! They write about things that matter. They have an agenda which means something and they are out to change the world, one little piece at a time. There are others too whom I have found and I plan on introducing them all to you through 2018 (if you haven’t already heard of them).

I will still always keep a look-out for more, but when I find them, I’m loving supporting them in the way I’d also like to be supported one day when I’m a big shot like they are.

Author Helen Pryke is one such person and I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon her writing but I did and I am so thankful for that.

The Healer's Secret_kindle cover

Her Bio tells us that Helen was born in England, but now lives in the north of Italy with her husband and two sons. After becoming accustomed to the culture, the language and the Italian way of doing things, she immersed herself in her passion for writing and published her debut novel, Walls of Silence, last year. A lover of coffee, chocolate, and cakes, she now dedicates herself to her family and writing.

It was Walls of Silence that I so enjoyed. The rawness of the story and her amazing talent for telling deeply traumatic incidents as they are without either whitewashing them nor making them voyeuristic. She is an author to watch if you are into things very real.

And now she is about to launch her second great novel. The Healer’s Secret is inspired by her beautiful, complicated Italy. And I can’t wait to preorder it and read it the moment it is ready!

The Healer's Secret_paperback cover_jpeg

Here’s the blurb:
Jennifer’s life isn’t going as she planned. Fired from her job and on the brink of divorce at thirty-one, her only salvation lies at the bottom of a wine bottle. When her mother insists she get away from everything, she reluctantly agrees to explore her Italian roots in Tuscany.
Staying in her family’s centuries-old cottage, she becomes embroiled in a mysterious tragedy involving her great-grandmother no-one wants to talk about. As she delves further into her ancestors’ history, she discovers there is more to her heritage than meets the eye.

Ghosts from the past could give Jennifer something she thought she’d never have: a future. But that depends on whether she can resist temptation and avoid slipping back into her old ways.

Will she be able to conquer her inner demons and discover the healer’s secret?

***

The Healer’s Secret is available for preorder at 99c/99p instead of its usual price of $2.99/£2.99 at:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078CXN299/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078CXN299/

I’m off to get my copy! (and review it on Amazon & Goodreads, we all know how important that is!)

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Is Yours a Luke-Warm Sea?

img_1061What breaks my heart are brands (authors & others) who don’t succeed, not because they have no support, but because they drown in a sea of luke-warm support. An army of people who sign on in order to “be kind“, to “boost their numbers“, to “see what it’s like” and who all assume someone else is doing the beta reading, the reviews, or standing on a soapbox down on the corner. And when every single one of those people assume that everyone else is at the epicentre of the campaign… no one is!

We, therefore, need to have some committed Brand Ambassadors who volunteer, hold those posts, and do so proudly! Some people who totally get that they are “it”. That the buck stops with them. The rest of the crowd are great because a portion of them, either intentionally or otherwise, will still do bits and pieces here and there, and that is vitally important as well. But the people in the middle, those who have your back, can make or break us. They are the dozen or so disciples who will pass a word on, tell a friend, chat about our brand with passion, and it is them who will be our greatest allies.

They are the dozen or so disciples who will pass a word on, tell a friend, chat about our brand with passion, and it is they who will be our greatest allies. These people, are our Tribes. Our Brand Ambassadors. Our Heroes. Our Village.

I am building a tribe. We are about a dozen and we all believe in each other. Our purpose is not to review. Our purpose is to build a tribe and have each other’s backs. When each of us launches, the rest of us shout about it. We multiply the voices, we speak on each other’s behaves. We point to the one in the spotlight.

Who is your Tribe?

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Control Your Newsfeed 2

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 09.36.43

In THIS post last week I talked about gaining some control over your newsfeed by tweaking the “top end”. This was about the “see first” options where we are allowed to pick 30 Facebook users only, whom you can always see what they post, and “see all posts” for all groups and pages that you don’t want to miss anything from.

But Face8book still only shows us each about 10% of what we could see if all our friends popped up on our news feeds. That means that I could still miss some stuff I’d hate to miss for whatever reason.

So the last few days I’ve been experimenting and the results have been way better than I imagined. This is more of a long-term tweaking project, but I did quite a lot of it earlier and feel I’ve broken the back of the job. And unlike the more purposeful yet vital task of the “top end”, this is even easier and faster and you don’t have to count.

Basically, any posts that appear in my newsfeed that I don’t deem in the top 30%, I click on the top right corner of the post and down pops a bunch of options, and I click “Unfollow Xblah-blah”. And that’s it. They are still my friend, they can still see my stuff, I can go and find them to see what they’re up to any time I like, they will never know they don’t appear on my newsfeed, and I will still see their major events.

However, when they click on every single post about bacon, 47 times a day, those don’t appear on my news feed anymore. It isn’t a moral issue, it isn’t about cutting them off, and they will never know the difference.

The vital part here is to remember that I no longer have bacon funnies taking up 5 of the precious 10% of all my friend’s newsfeeds! While those posts are harmless, it is easy to forget those posts are there INSTEAD of Mary’s grad pictures, Bob’s new baby, and my best friend who is currently in hospital or on an overseas trip.

You may not want to see Bob’s baby pics and those bacon pics may be the highlight of your day. Again, I stress, this has nothing to do with right or wrong. But Face8ook is currently making these newsfeed choices for you and you have the option of taking back some of that control. Say no to Bacon so you have a bigger chance of seeing babies … or the other way around if that suits you better.

The result: I have been blown away by the posts which have appeared on my newsfeed which are way more interesting to me than those whom I’ve unfollowed. And the good thing is, unlike the top “see firsts” of which there are only 30, the quantity of bottom bits, which I have “unfollowed”, is unlimited, and each time I unfollow someone, someone else pops on! (and if they are also not top 30% worthy, then they get unfollowed too).

Here are some reasons why some of your favourite people may still qualify for unfollowing:

  • You see them every day anyway, or
  • They belong to a Face8ook group you are in and both of you are very active there, or
  • You are in the same circle of friends so you see them on other’s posts anyway, or
  • They never share any news, or photos so you don’t get anything from them Face8ook wise anyway, or
  • They share mostly what you see as rubbish, or
  • They perhaps should be employed by click farms, or
  • They have a chronic interest that bores you to tears,
  • Etc….

Please don’t judge them and please remember that they will never know, and you can still interact in all kinds of ways, including Face8ook where you look them up or see them on regular posts by mutual friends.

img_2468-1

To unfollow them you can go to their profile but the easiest way is to do it from your news feed. As each post pops up I ask myself, “is this worthy of the top 30% of posts I want on my newsfeed?” and if the answer is no, then I click on the 3 dots at the top right-hand corner of the post.

 

 

This box pops up when I do that: I click on the “Unfollow Xblah-blah” …. img_2469-2

You will get a confirmation that you’ve unfollowed them, which is great but also note the bottom line which I have circled in red. This is another way to check your preferences and “see firsts” at any point that you want to make sure you’re happy with your choices or tweak them 🙂

img_2470-1

Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Scale or Genre?

img_9243I’m sure I’m not the only one who agrees that not all Romance books are created equally. Neither are all crime novels, all memoirs, or all violence-themed thrillers. To me, there is a clear scale, and in our Writing Group we have been discussing this at length. It’s a hard discussion to have because we also all have filters that determine where we would like our books to fit. We then also add moral or “better/worse” scales to the equation and struggle to see things as being of equal value, just “different”.

Here’s an example; At one end of the scale, Romance can be clean as a whistle. No sex scenes, no sex before marriage, no disrespect towards women (except from the bad guys) and so on. Some may scoff at this idea but this writing space is huge and the world is filled with mostly women readers who are tired of the sex thrown at them from every billboard, movie and TV advertisement. They want to enjoy and believe that there is still a place in the world for respect, true love, and deeply heroic, decent men and that women can still be swept off their feet for all the right reasons. (and I like to think that these people do still exist!)

At the other end of the scale, there is written pornography in all its forms. These ends of the scale clearly are not the same thing, and while they may well both fit into the Romance genre, they are unlikely to be enjoyed by a single reader, or written by a single author.

But the bigger questions are:

  • Where is the middle line?
  • Who fits on either side of it?
  • And is someone who reads the red end (explicit sex) more likely to also read and enjoy books with explicit violent scenes? And is someone who enjoys the pink end (squeaky clean) more likely to also read squeaky clean ends of other genres too?

The same then applies to crime/violence, social justice issues, religion, and other genres does it not?

In my subjective experience, pretty much no one I know only reads a single genre. There are a whole bunch of genre that they will not read, but of those that they do enjoy, all pretty much fit on the same place on the scale.

Let’s make an imaginary scale. 1-6 With an imaginary wall in the middle. That wall has a door in it, that can open or shut. Whether the scene is in a bedroom, police station, crime scene, hospital room, battlefield, history museum, or anywhere else on earth, in any genre imaginable, the scale is divided down the middle and the reader is either taken through into that room, …or they aren’t.

  • 1= Squeaky clean on all levels. In a nutshell, there is no room!
  • 2= There are some hints and innuendoes about private or gory details, but still everything is pretty much left to the imagination.
  • 3= Sex and/or violent scenes may be present, and big issues raised, however, they are implied and alluded to, but no details are given. You are not actively taken into the bedroom, the crime scene, the bar brawl or the morgue.
  • ————————————
  • 4= The imagination is still very much in play, but the author spells out a number of details about what is going on. The reader is taken through those doors, but briefly.
  • 6= A good deal of time and explanation is given to these rooms, issues are dealt with in depth and scenes are built quite fully. But there are still many details which are left to the imagination.
  • 8= No holds barred. A spade is a spade. Nothing is left to the imagination. Anything and everything goes and the more detail, the better.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t read about sex, zombies, horror or ghosts, but I’m a 6 kind of gal!! (writing and reading)

What are you?

IMG_3536

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith