Free right now!

About now, the west coast of the USA has flipped over to Friday and my book on anxiety (The Lion and the Peacock in case you hadn’t heard) is therefore free for roughly 24hrs starting now. So wherever you are in the world, grab it now!

I added a free workbook a couple of month ago so if you have already bought it but missed the workbook, this is your chance!

As always, as you swipe the last page a box pops up to review the book. It takes 2 minutes, it doesn’t have to be long, only honest. What difference does it make? Amazon don’t promote books with less than 50 reviews. Getting to 50 will be a game changer. Are you one of my game changers?

Thanks as always! 

Jennifer 😊

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Author Groovy Lee!

Today I had the privilege of speaking with author Groovy Lee. Here are some of the things that she shared with me. If you would like to know more about her, check out her links at the bottom of the page 🙂
1.       Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in the Southern part of the United States. I have a daughter who’s my best friend, my Queen, and my biggest supporter. I’m addicted to bottled tea and tennis. 
2.       How long have you been writing?
Ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand. When I didn’t have my head stuck in a book, I was creating adventures. I even wrote a neighborhood newspaper and comic books. 
3.       What do you write about?
I write Suspense, Romance, Romantic/Suspense, and my newest endeavor is a Suspense/Sci-Fi/Romance. I’ve always been a stickler for true love and Happy-Ever-After’s, so you’ll find that in just about all of my books. My protagonists are always strong females that can stand on their own. 
4.       What is your greatest achievement in writing so far?
I think it’s having people read my books and enjoying them. If I can move one person with something I wrote, then I’ve done my job. One mother, whose daughter was dying of cancer, told me that my book, “Cause She’s A Good Girl”, enabled her to escape the pain and stress temporarily. I was so touched by that. This same book was shown on a popular morning TV show where I live and given a “Highly Recommended” from Bookman and BookWoman—I’m still smiling. 
5.       What is your greatest dream?
When it comes to my books, it would be to see my fan base grow and grow until I’m listed on the New York Times Bestseller’s list. It means just about everyone is being entertained by something I wrote. My greatest dream in life is to finally see world peace, the end of starvation, disease, and wars. 
6.       What advice would you give someone who is new to writing?
Write what’s in your heart, not what you think your readers expect. Not everyone will like what you write, but that’s okay. Besides having loyal fans, you will also have your critics; wear their reviews as a badge of honor. Join forums and interact with eager readers and fellow authors. You can learn so much from them. Be ready to do the hard part of promoting.
7.       Do you do any Social Media?
I’m not very good at Social Media, but I’m learning. I’m an introvert, and it’s not easy for me to engage. But when my readers and Goodreads friends reach out to me, it makes it much easier. I do have a Goodreads blog and a FB page. 
8.       Who are your writing heroes?
My writing heroes are the late Janet Dailey & Violet Winspear, both of the old Harlequin’s era; Dr. Seuss, I think he was a most brilliant writer. I read his books out loud when I get the chance. And Frank L. Baum—The Wizard of Oz is my most favorite book and film.
9.       Have you just released a new book? What is it about? 
Yes. It’s titled, A BODY RESURRECTED, and I’m so excited. It’s my first attempt at adding a Sci-Fi element to my story. It’s a Suspense/Sci-Fi/Romance about a handsome bounty hunter from the planet Aut; true love; and trying to stop an evil mummy intent on destroying the plague known as woman. 
10.   What are you working on now?
I’m working on a Romantic/Suspense about a family heirloom that will give the ultimate power to anyone who can find its secret hiding place; family members are killing one another to obtain it, and the heroin has no idea it’s in her possession.
 
 

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Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Infiltrate or Collaborate?

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-42-17-pmTwo completely different words, with completely different meanings, and yet some people get them totally mixed up! As you know, I am all about collaboration, “paying it forward”, and being a genuine part of a community. If an author wants to sell their books they need to build a launch team and if they want people to join them then they need to be a part of a community (a few of actually). And if you want to be a part of a community then you need to contribute. It is as simple as that.

But I need to make it abundantly clear so that you know where I stand. Joining a community that you aren’t prepared to genuinely participate in, congruently contribute to, and stay in for the long haul, is not collaboration! If your sole purpose is to use members for your gain, then you are simply infiltrating, and that is worse than doing nothing at all.

Many years ago I had the privilege of mentoring a young woman who’s husband struggled with addiction. I won’t go into any more detail than that, but as we sat in a coffee shop in the middle of a New York City winter, a couple of weeks before Christmas, she poured her heart to me. You see, the movie “Thanks for Sharing” had recently hit the big screen, and the main actor had done a brilliant job in one sense, of showing what sexual addiction was actually about (it is nothing like it is commonly portrayed I can assure you!). Her problem wasn’t just that this poor woman was dealing with a husband just like the character in the movie, she was now dealing with worse.

It turns out that the accuracy of the movie wasn’t a coincidence. The actor had joined her husband’s addiction group and as there are loads of other actors and famous people in many addiction groups, especially in places like LA and New York, no one thought anything of it, and the confidences were respected at every level. But it reality, the actor wasn’t a sex addict at all, he just wanted to experience being in an addiction group so that he could do his movie realistically! All the secrets he told were lies, all the hours over weeks and months, that he poured into those relationships were all fake. He betrayed the other members of the group at such a deep level that many of them, like this woman’s husband, stopped going.

Some of these men had only been going in the first place because it was part of their treatment and because they were assured of secrecy. No one broke the secrecy, no one did anything “wrong”, but this small group of broken, struggling men, were betrayed at one of the deepest levels. Over a period of months, the actor learned, got what he wanted, and then he left. He heard the others bare their souls, but he only pretended to bare his.

I know that that is an extreme example, but the point that I want to make is that joining a community needs to be real if you ever want them to support your stage, your writing, your blog. So don’t be an asshole like Mark Ruffalo and screw people over just so that you can make your million!

Where Jennifer hangs out:

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

@JPeaSmith

“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Interview with author Alex Carver

mollyHi Alex, it’s nice to meet you. I see that you write under your pen name, are you able to still tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m 30 ish (with the emphasis on ish) in need of exercise, though I blame that on sitting at a computer all day, and I have an occasionally perverse sense of humour. I have also recently been identified as being autistic, which has helped me to understand my social difficulties, if not overcome them.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for over 25 years now, this is my 2nd go as a published author.

What do you write about?

Primarily I write crime fiction, set in England, but I also write sci-fi, and children’s mystery/adventure.

What is your greatest achievement in writing so far?

During my 1st time as a published author I had the pleasure of spending 5 weeks in a row at the top of the kindle drama chart; at another time and with another book I reached the top 30 of the Nook charts.

What is your greatest dream?

Tough question, on a writing level I would love to sell enough books on a monthly basis to pay my bills and live comfortably. Outside of writing, I would love to go back to Egypt for another trip and visit Macchu Picchu in Peru.

What is your greatest personal writing highlight, even if it isn’t a monetary one?

When I was published previously I received a review that compared my book to something written by Karen Rose or Karin Slaughter; reviews are subjective of course, but it was still wonderful to be compared to such well-known authors.

What advice would you give to someone new to writing?

I’m never keen on this question because I don’t feel I have been published for long enough, I don’t have the experience to really advise someone; that said, I would suggest anyone interested in writing as a career should write from the heart, and fact-check wherever necessary.

Some authors also blog, do you? 

I do, https://arcbookblog.wordpress.com is where I can be found, I review when I can, write articles related to crime and my autism, and blog about anything else that takes my interest.

Do you do any social media?

I have a twitter account, but that’s it, I’m not good with social media, I find it a little overwhelming and hard to get to grips with.

Lastly, who are your writing heroes? 

Jeffrey Archer, Tom Clancy, and George RR Martin

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Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Ethical Launch Teams Part 2:

img_9270 Yesterday I started a Facebook Group for anyone who is interested in the whole concept of Launch Teams. With so many people doing their own publishing, it has become imperative to also do one’s own marketing as well, and if you are a writer like me then that is HARD! I am not a sales person, I don’t like sucking up to people, and I am absolutely useless at self-promotion, but worse than all of that is the fact that I am also an introvert. And I would also way prefer to be writing my book or my blogs than writing about me or my book or my blogs. And what would I say anyway?

So while I don’t think that anyone enjoys the whole marketing side of their books, things like Launch Teams have become a necessity. But this has also opened up a massive opportunity for readers who aren’t writers. A world has emerged where readers can spend very little money and read as many books as they would like or are able to. They can get in on the ground floor and be a part of the machine that puts great books and great writers out there. Joining a Launch Team for them is a great way to get cheap or even free books.

That sounds like a perfect match to me, and I keep hearing people who are new to the game say the same thing…. and then a few months later they burn their toes and wonder how it happened. You see in the rush to be seen and heard, many authors ask for reviews, publicity, and support and are kind and willing enough to return the favour. This is where it comes unstuck. Let us imagine for a moment that you and I are in the same literary group. There are twelve of us and we have been meeting at the library on Tuesday evenings for a decade and now it is time for us all to launch our much loved, hard earned, soul-bearing books. The timing isn’t exact, but within a year or so of each other we all proofread, edit, double, triple and quadruple check everything, and each of us launches our book. We have all supported each other in every way possible for a decade and we all feel the love of the others as we all sign up for Amazon, buy each other’s books, and give each other an honest review.

Our little group sends out weekly emails to each other and we are all friends on Facebook. We even meet for Cocktail Hour at the local pub once a month. This group is harmless in every sense of the word and the love for each other (well, most of each other) is deep.

The problem is that Amazon and Google and all the powers that be which we don’t like to think exist, know that we all know each other and they also know that other less noble citizens are prepared to swap (or worse; PAY for) reviews and reads …..and they can’t tell us apart. We all look dodgy to them. So they remove some of our reviews, they reject others outright, and the readers of our small local library who have so kindly offered to support us, get caught in the fallout too.

It sounds like a very bad and ridiculous movie. But it isn’t. I am now watching people choosing NOT to join or create a Launch Team because they are frightened of the mix up between genuine support and the swapping of reviews or appearing to be coerced into giving one. Amazon is ruthless.

But I have to tell you, that the concept of a Launch Team is still a very good one. We just all need to be prepared to work in a MUCH wider circle, to “pay it forward” and trust that someone else entirely will do the same for us.

Soooo…. with that in mind, if the first step to a Launch Team was to create The Facebook Group to host it, now it is time to recruit. And the first tempting thing that people feel they “ought” to do is to reciprocate. But my advice is to be honest, be transparent, say why, but don’t jump onto every other persons’ Launch Team and create a virtual small circle. There are other ways to pay back and I will give a bunch of examples next time but for now give all you can to the Launch Teams that you sign up for, but don’t become too incestuous. Gather the bulk of your Launch Team members from work or school colleagues, family and distant friends. You can even ask friends if they have friends who might like to join. Advertise for some help at your local library, church, book club or corner store.

Throw the net wide, gather what you can, and if it isn’t big then that is OK too. Growing slowly is better than having dozens of people sign on but have nothing to give. Many of us have learned that the hard way. And above all, think of it as a loving, helpful, but business arrangement. They are going to get to be the first to read your book, have a say in the colours and font on the front cover, maybe even win something later on, but if they aren’t already your personal Facebook friend, then leave it that way. Keep them at a little bit of arm’s distance. You don’t have to pay them, pay them back, or give them stuff.

I have met some AMAZING people on this journey, two at least whom I hope will become real life, long term friends. But right now each of us needs to get our books out there and we need to keep our respect and help for each other at a bit of a distance. When we are both famous and have thousands of fans that the other can get lost in the middle of (as far as Amazon are concerned), then we can be Facebook friends as well. But for now, this is business guys!

Building an Ethical Launch Team!

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The ink is still wet on my first book and I am already planning the next one. Actually, the next few books were written long before the Lion and the Peacock was even an idea, but that is beside the point. It is and forever will be my first book and it is not by any means forgotten, but I learned so much from the process that I am keen on sharing my ups and downs with you and what I would have done differently. I am also keen on putting those learnings into practice to see if they have an effect or not.

So with that in mind, I am starting my Launch Team much earlier this time and will use it as a learning tool for myself and anyone who would like to come along for the journey.

The first step of any Launch Team is to create a Closed Facebook Group. The idea behind it is to rally people to support your upcoming book. The slight difference here is that I will also have people joining it simply to learn the process, but the first step would be the same for any Launch Team. You want the group to be closed and not public simply because it can be a safe place to talk about “behind the scenes” things that you don’t want the public to know (as yet anyway). It will later become a space where you can share your ideas for a front cover and people give feedback on the font, picture, layout etc. It is an interactive group.

But I want to point out that it should NOT be a space to create “read and review swaps”. Or a place that guarantees any kickbacks. It should be a place of community and support. Anyone who joins the launch team should expect nothing in return but because of the way the group should function, they would hopefully ultimately feel that they gained a lot by being there.

If you are an Author:

Join someone else’s Launch Team because:

  • You can learn so much from the process in order to do a great job (and hopefully even do a better job) yourself. It is almost silly to run your own launch before ever being on one and seeing it from the other side, or having launch teams to compare mistakes and successes etc. It is a totally free way to learn!
  • You want to “pay it forward”. In other words, when it is your turn to have a launch team you too will want people to sign on and help you. Of all the professions in this world, being an author is one of the greatest in terms of this. Whether you like it or not, all authors need the generosity of others, and if you have never given anything it is tough to ask others to give it to you.

Don’t join someone else’s Launch Team if:

  • You expect them to join yours. It could well backfire on both of you as the Amazon Bots are always on the look out for “review swaps”. The process of Launch Teams is a little like the analogy where it “all comes out equally in the wash”. If you belong to enough communites and are active in them, then there should be plenty to go around if you all join a handful of launch teams with no one reciprocating.
  • You aren’t prepared to give anything to them. If you think about it, they have started the group for themselves but you have been given the privilege of being a fly on the wall of this intimate and soul bearing exercise. The least you can do is any one of the little, free, 2 second ways that you can support them (“Like” their author facebook Page, share their posts, retweet a few of their tweets, tell your freinds about them … the list is endless). But think about giving them a review at the end. If you are not doing a review swap then this is the greatest way to bless them!
  • You don’t like their writing! I know that a lot of people dont agree with me here but it is really hard to read and review a genre or a book that you are completely uncomfortabel or unfamiliar with. Spend a little time reading soemthing that they have out there for free (free book on Amazon, or a blog that they write, or an artcile that they have written for a publication, or check them out on Goodreads).

If you are a Reader:

Join someone’s Launch Team because:

  • You can learn so much about what goes into a book and I believe that your reviews will be so much richer for understanding the heart and soul of some of the authors. It can be so easy to criticize something that appears small and simple but isn’t. I beleive that a great reader would enjoy getting to know some authors and their processes.
  • You want your favourite authors to succeed. Never before have readers had so much power in the success or failure of the authors of the world. So many people have asked me when my next book will be out and the answer is very simply: “when I get enough people to support it”. If no one is going to even know that it exists, then I will fail before I begin. If you want your favourite authors to write, then support them at the foundations and help the world to see them 🙂
  • It’s fun! OK, maybe fun isn’t always the right word, but when I read the books of some of my favourite authors I have a yearning for so much more. I want to know the things that I felt were hidden between the lines, if there are photos of the journey then I want to see them. Launch Teams and newsletters often let you into private spaces that no one else gets to see.

Don’t join someone else’s Launch Team if:

  • All you want is to be a fly on the wall and give nothing back. If an author allows you into their heart and soul process then please be gentle and helpful with that gift that they have given you. Too many people say yes please to the privilege of being on the team and then do nothing but take advantage of the days that the book is free and give nothing back.
  • You aren’t prepared to Like their author facebook Page, retweet a few of their tweets, tell your freinds about them … again, the list is endless. But most of all if you aren’t prepared to give them an honest review at the end then think carefully about pretending to support them when in fact your aren’t.

So to recap: First step is to set up the Closed Facebook group and the second is to find people to join. The reason I suggest people to start early is because it takes time to build a good team. So many people urgently create a group a couple of weeks before launch and don’t have the numbers that they want. Next post I will talk more about how to find the people that you need to make this group work! (but in the meantime, set up your group and ask a handful of Facebook friends and family to join you).

Here is my new Launch Team link if you would like to join, follow and learn from my journey: JOIN THE TEAM

Here is the link to be on my no spam email list to receive updates, specials, and exclusive updates, photos and personal details: SIGN UP

The Lion and the Peacock

Thanks Ren what a great post… thank you! Funny how you inspired me first, so don’t forget that!

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Next time I’m complaining that my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome has turned me into a useless blob, I’m going to remind myself that my fellow EDS-er, blogger and spoonie wrote a freakin’ book!

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It’s not very long, in fact, it only took me an hour to read it on my Kindle app – which is good as an hour is just about the limit of my attention span these days. The Lion and the Peacock is a short book about Jennifer Peacock-Smith’s battle with anxiety. I believe that it was due to be a chapter within a larger book, but the decision was made to make it into a short publication in its own right. It works really well in this format.

I don’t suffer particularly from anxiety, but I care very much about a few people who do. This book explains in some relatable anecdotes just WHY anxiety behaves like…

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Social Media is Stealing my Writing time!

I know that social media is an important part of getting ourselves out there, but I genuinely and stupidly thought that immersing myself in the deep waters of social media for a week would be enough to understand and get my systems going, and then while I knew that there would still be a good few weeks of taking longer to “do” the social media stuff each week, I would be back to writing again in no time.

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The truth is a vicious cycle, where I am constantly having to learn and research something new, which means that I am not writing anything proper, and because I am not writing anything worth reading, I look like someone who is constantly writing nonsense about SM instead of having anything to say worth following! AAAAAHHHH!!!

Talk about a love hate relationship! If I can hold enough people long enough to get my head around all this, my hope and dream is that eventually I will be able to write again and keep up with this social media thing which I actually enjoy. Having been on Facebook forever, and joining Twitter with a handful of truly helpful and loving people, has made it so much easier, so thank you all for following and encouraging and writing and so on 🙂

Wearing a Mask

Abuse is one of those horrible things that permeate everything in life; mine, his, ours… and when the repercussions rear their heads everyone gets hurt. We are thoroughly blessed to have the most amazing team around us, and have been unpacking layers of the onion for so long that it is hard to fathom now just how bad it used to be. We have a better, safer language now, we have dealt with some of the trauma and their sources, there has been rewiring done, and lessons learned… and deeper and deeper we go, and then almost out of nowhere we get close to the source.. and it hurts… it hurts like hell, and no one wants to look at it, face it, unpack it.

And so we run away… I run away from mine, or he runs away from his, and we hurt each other as we do so, as we try to protect ourselves, and rebuild that solid rock wall around us only to protect ourselves… but hurt the ones we do love.

But we can only do that so often and for so long… and eventually it comes the time to do what all this unpacking of the onion has been for in the first place, all the head room that has been created, each of the mechanisms to surround him in safety put into place. The preparation, the skills, the tools… and now we are here, and it is frightening. It feels like it came out of absolutely nowhere and yet we have been preparing for this for exactly 4 years now. We didn’t know that it would be now, all we knew was that it would be somewhere only a little bit under around 5 years, depending on how it went.

It wasn’t going to be nearly that long for us, we were the special ones that were going to do this so well that it wouldn’t take so long. But nothing could have prepared us for the pain of all those walls coming down, the fear and heartache and damage that it would unearth… the close calls, the danger, the risks…

But here we are and we are as ready as we will ever be … but wait! First we have to get through the week ahead. So many meetings and deadlines and work stuff that means that we won’t be going anywhere near the centre of the onion for about 10 days. We have to hold our breath, put on our masks, and be the best “normal” we can be.. we have to entertain and be warm and genuine and sweet. These are lovely people and this has been planned for months and an enormous amount is riding on it. It will already stretch me to my broken physical limits, but now it is also going to stretch me to my emotional limits.

img_3041Inside I am angry that we have to even do this. How could a parent do such a thing to a child? I get that we are all broken and we are all products of our own environment and family-of-origin, but some how the deliberate stuff I just can’t get how a mother could do such a thing… but I have to park all of that. I am so depleted and Mondays are supposed to be my rest and heal my body day, but instead I will be out the entire day doing all the right things…

And so we wear the mask this week, the week we feel least able to in a long time. But we can do this, and I can vent quietly and survive. I am so thankful for my on-line support and that we are not entirely alone in this!!! Carry me through this week please peeps!

Social Media and my Dyslexia.

The biggest problem that I am having with all this social media stuff is my dyslexia!

You can’t be typing the wrong word, or reading it wrong… and sadly there are no second chances. There isn’t an editor or autocorrect or even spell check on SM, and any combination of letters could mean something. Try looking up the misspelled #s and see (start typing the handle you are looking for and type a wrong letter and you would be surprised how many of them have hundreds if not thousands of entries).

It doesn’t help that my Eeds Eyes are not great either so when I post on my phone it is easy to miss the mistakes…

I hope that my spelling nightmares don’t ruin my writing career because of social media 😦

I really could NOT have done without your help today Cocoa! The whole message is wrong because of my typo 😦

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