Decimation Book Review!

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 4.28.14 PM.pngDecimation by Richard T. Burke

I am so behind on my book reviews, but I just LOVED this book which I finished only a few moments ago and I can’t wait to share it with you. I won’t lie, I am just a little bit proud of myself for taking a chance on this book. I am stuck in bed at the moment and I needed some distraction and this book did the trick and oh so perfectly!

This is my 5 Star review:

“I bought this book because of my love of genetics and biochemistry, and the few lines I allowed myself to read of the synopsis had me intrigued. But once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down! Seriously! It is extremely clever, very well written, I love the characters, and there are so many times where the author could have tried to be too clever, but wisely chose not to. This made it feel far more real for me.

But above all, as a wheelchair user myself, I just loved the way this book deals with disability, wheelchair use, etc etc. Spot on!! “

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Sharing & Book Signing.

I love a good book signing, but even more than that I love to speak about what is in the book and to share my story in a way that gives encouragement to others. Roll the two into one and it is even better.

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So last week, when I had an amazing opportunity to do both and speak at Life Line here in Johannesburg, I was thrilled (and humbled and honoured!). For those of you haven’t heard of Lifeline, they are a nonprofit organisation across the world who provide round-the-clock telephone and scheduled face-to-face counselling sessions, for free, to anyone in need of help. They are and always have been a fabulous group of dedicated people. I have not had much to do with them until now, but I have always known that they were out there one way or another.

IMG_3751It was a huge privilege to be invited to speak to some of their local counsellors about my Book (The Lion and the Peacock) and my own anxiety journey, and the ways that I have conquered it.

But as Thursday rolled on, it turned out to be a cold, very wet and stormy night, on the eve of organised protests across our country, so I was sure that everyone would cancel and stay home. That I would be speaking to an empty room and a handful of organisers.

img_4278Counsellors, however, are a brave lot and I am so thankful to those who came anyway and were such a great audience.

They were super engaging and encouraging and asked so many great questions that the nearly two-hour Q&A session felt like about five minutes.

My lovely husband took tons of photos and videos throughout the evening and promptly lost the whole lot when he synched his phone overnight, so we have had to rely on the handful on snapshots taken by others (thank you Lifeline for sharing them with me!). But we also now need to try and remember some of the great questions so that I can share them with you! … so watch this space.

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Thanks Lifeline for the opportunity, and this great endorsement:

Julie post LifeLine

img_4276To book a talk with me and discuss my schedule you can contact me on JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@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

 

Saving our Country!

Last night I spent the evening speaking to the counsellors at LifeLine here in Johannesburg. It was such an honour to be invited and an amazing audience. They gave me truly a wonderful evening. We will do it again. And I’m busting to tell you all about it.


But today was not the day for talking about me, or my books, or my mission. Today was a chance to protest. To stand up for the millions of people in this beautiful country who were freed over twenty years ago, only to have so many of those freedoms denied by a new dictator.

Our country says NO!
We say it’s time to go Zuma!

Your reign is over!

We don’t want you for our President!

Nelson Mandela would be devastated.

This is NOT what he fought so hard for!
What a great day we had! We had so many protest options, and we mulled over them all. It would have been cool to go to some of the biggest. But in the end, we decided that they aren’t great places for wheelchairs, and if things turned ugly, I can’t get away fast or protect myself.

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And so we picked the protest run by our church. It’s at the corner of a massive intersection and there is a tonne of space to stand. 200 people is not a lot in the whole scheme of the rallies and protests around the country, but boy, did we do our thing! And the noise from the cars honking in support was huge! And the feeling of standing in unity in a multiracial, multitalented group (yeah, sorry for the stereotyping there but white people can’t sing or chant like black people can 😂 but that’s not a reason to stay home) and stand up for our beautiful country!

What a privilege and what a day! Because we are a God loving church we also prayed. Together. In our different languages, which in and of itself was beautiful. Lots of tears, so much love!


200 isn’t a lot but we were just the afternoon slot, there were people out all day. And there were groups at all the major intersections.

I am praying hard that we can get rid of our president and show the world that it’s possible!

***

As a side note, if you are going to have a car accident, doing so in the middle of an intersection with 200 witnesses, many of whom have cameras rolling, is not a bad place to have it (when you are the innocent one).

This poor delivery guy on a motorbike was collected by a car going the other way. In an instant, dozens of people dropped placards, stopped traffic, and as the fuel tank gushed its contents my hubby and a bunch of others moved him well clear. He was able to walk (amazingly) but they called an ambulance anyway, moved the motorbike off the road. This guy could not have had more love, help or support! 😊

 

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@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

 

Growing Facebook

Facebook Campaign-2

One thing I hate doing is self-promotion. Blowing one’s own trumpet has never sat well with me. But in the current world, we have little choice even if we aren’t selling anything! To build a community of any kind, we need to advertise and ask and shout and put ourselves in front of people, otherwise, they just don’t see us. So I am going to be brave again this week and ask for support. I need to grow my Facebook followers. If they grow then my “online presence” grows and my updates are more likely to appear on newsfeeds. It is a never ending circus, but I have no choice. So if you would like to help, then please follow, share my posts, leave comments, and if nothing else, please share this post.

All new Facebook followers and all who sign on HERE for my monthly newsletter will go into the draw to win a signed copy of MY BOOK. So please help get the word out there today! Thanks!

To follow, share, support etc: My Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/JPeaSmith/

Or any of these links: 

@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

 

Across the Board

Amazon Reviews

As a world citizen, TCK, etc etc… when I publish, I do so on all the Amazons, and I advertise in places across the globe. The upside is that I have reviews on .com .uk  .au and .ca    …the downside is that those reviews are not collated into my numbers anywhere, and when people look up my books they only see the reviews in their own country. So here I was thinking that I had 28 reviews, but add in the rest and I have 45.

Does anyone know where these can be collated in one place? I would have thought that KDP’s Author Central would do that, but it appears they don’t. Or have I missed something?

A New Voice in my Head!

img_5205-1There is a new voice in my head, and it’s a good one. First, there were all the people in my life who tried to tell me “You can’t write that!!!” “How dare you write that!!!” “You will regret this young lady” and so on, and so on. I have pretty much dealt with them, thanks to Social Media and the almost steady stream of comments like “Tell your story!” “If they didn’t want you to write about them then they should have behaved better” and the like.

There are other reasons that I am able to mostly silence those voices, but that is for another day. For now, my latest concern is that Social Media is also awash with experts, and not all of them are on the same page. “Publish like this” “Publish like that” “You shouldn’t use this voice” “You can’t use that voice” … AAAHHHH!!!

But a couple of weeks ago I signed on for four sessions with a writing coach. No, coaches ain’t cheap, but the thing is, she is a bit of a veteran in the publishing world and she doesn’t know me from a bar of soap. She is a total stranger and she reads my work in the same way that someone buying my book will. She knows nothing of my history, my imperfections, my excuses.

I was a little worried that I would not be able to remember all the rules that she will teach me, that I will not be able to stick to all that she teaches me, but as I have been writing the last few days (and I have written a lot, she inspires me!) I would find myself asking how Brooke would respond if she were reading it. She is the new voice in my head. I have no doubt that she isn’t perfect, but so far she is more reliable than those who love me and want my writing to be good.

I am only half way through these sessions and already I can hear her voice in my head telling me to rewrite a paragraph, to tell it differently. The changes are both significant and meaningful, yet it is still my voice. She is giving me new roots for all the writing ahead and this is changing the course of the way that I express myself. I write memoirs and the story hasn’t changed, but the way that I tell it has. And if the next two sessions produce as much fruit as the first two, then watch out Authory world, here I come!

GIVEAWAY!

Everyone loves a GIVEAWAY right? To celebrate the launch of the paperback version of The Lion and the Peacock, we will be giving away a handful of signed copies. To enter, all you need to do is to Like and Follow my author Facebook Page, click on the pinned post at the top, share it, and in the comments below it, write the country that you live in.
Every two weeks for the next 6 months (March-August), I will pick a country, and then randomly select a winner from that country and send them a free, signed copy of the book. March is USA and South Africa!  (Please read the T&Cs in the very first comment of the post).
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For a second chance to win, sign up here for my no spam newsletter, and get all the updates on what country is coming up and when. I will also publish the winners in the newsletter, so don’t forget to sign up! ( http://ow.ly/C24N309CH0X )

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@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

Two Tier Support?

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-12-58-35-pmI am toying with an idea here, and I need to know what you think. It is somewhere in the space of having two distinct groups in my launch teams.

People who have their own launch teams tend to be way better supporters of others, and I have seen groups where they unwittingly land up with a group that is deeply connected and supportive, much like I spoke about in this post a few weeks ago. The problem with this is that it can backfire and if it does it will happen without notice, and it is irreversible, and you can land up losing your very best reviews.

This is just a thought that I am having, so bear with me, please.

What about having a two-tier support group or even two launch teams? is that too hard. But the benefits are twofold. The first is that you split your roles but secondly, you can grow your team way bigger (I think).

Team A: These people are full-on supporters. They read ARC copies, they download your book on its free day, they leave reviews on every country of Amazon and Goodreads and they blog about your book, share it on Facebook and so on. These people are a dream come true. They are FABULOUS. They are also people that you trust to follow through. These are the people that I would have on my launch team whether I had one or two.

But Amazon will not let them review our work if we are personal friends OR EVEN IF SUSPECT that we are friends. We need these people desperately but then all should agree to not connect on a personal level through social media!

Team B: These people are just as important. But they don’t have enough cred on Amazon to leave reviews, and/or they are family and friends that can’t review us anyway. They are the people who don’t want to be bombarded with all the info on the launch team site and they don’t have the time to read ARCs, and nor do they want to. They are simply happy to give us some love when our book comes out, share on Facebook and so on. I find that a lot of people lose these people from their launch teams because they are simply not that into the whole process. They just want to lose the bottom line.

They aren’t second best, they just play a different role. They can be friends on Facebook, they can love and support. But if we keep them out of the nitty gritty then more of them might stay?

Any thoughts?

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@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

Have You Ever Used a Writing Coach?

img_2176For all kinds of reasons, I am not an expert in writing. I consider myself an expert in my topics because I have lived, breathed, conquered, failed, picked myself up from, and failed again, in these areas. Emotional Abuse, Control Abuse, neglect, loss, grief, loneliness, and debilitating chronic illness. I write about all these things and I know I do ok at it because I am so passionate about these things. They flow out if me.

But I don’t have a literary degree, I am dyslexic and autocorrect hates me. I have a lot to say, and for the most part, people appear to listen (maybe they are just being nice), but I want to do it well. My Memoirs mean the world to me and I cannot wait to share them with the world, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and hit a wall due to the fact that I am not an expert but more importantly than that, I know my whole story so intimately well, that I don’t know what others see on the outside.

I have decided to have some coaching and the first half hour slot was great. I still have my own voice, but it was great to get feedback on what a reader needs to hear in the opening chapters. When we write our own story, whether as a memoir or any other piece of fiction, it is really easy to over share, and just as easy to under share. I was worried that I was the former and it turned out that I am the latter; I wasn’t sharing enough detail about some of the relationships in the opening chapters. You can’t please everyone and this isn’t about people pleasing. It is about learning to share the right things and when so that hooks aside, I don’t leave people asking too many questions instead of just reading on. I am really enjoying this process!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@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

All the Things to Write (and read)!!!

img_9246-1I am thoroughly spoilt that I get to write pretty much full time, and yet most days I feel terribly behind. In the night I think of wonderful things to say, and believe it or not, I usually remember most of them in the morning. Some are blog topics, others are great ideas for my next book (or the one after that, or the one after that). But I already have a writing to do list longer than my arm, and so some days it is easier to just ignore it all and read instead! Especially when my “to read” list is longer than my “to write” list.

And I am not just talking about reading for pleasure. I read because I like to keep up with my peers, and support fellow authors and I try to beta read at least 2 books a month. And I hate letting them down. Then there are all the books about how to write, publish and so on. It never ends.

I think that I need to streamline my writing a little bit and somehow slow down. But once the bug bites that is it! No turning back… How do you balance your time? Writing, Reading and everything in between? I would love some tips on how to keep a balance!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@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