Who Pooped in the cream?

I LOVE the smell of good coffee. I don’t know what makes coffee good (or bad), but I do know that the smell of freshly brewed coffee is a fabulous one. It makes me want to like coffee …. but I don’t. Not even a little bit. I wish I did, truly … and I’m not just saying that; my husband is a trained barista and his Italian monster of a cafe sized machine takes up a good chunk of our kitchen counter. The sounds and smells of his coffee-making routines have filled our home for well over a decade now and are a decent part of who he is and his presence in our home.

So when I tell people I can’t stand the taste of coffee they are shocked (and some even horrified) as apparently, he makes the best coffee around.

So you see, I am well aware that the problem is with me, not them, nor my husband, nor even coffee itself. I just don’t like it. Period. And I never have. When I grew up, instant coffee was the rage and my parents took to it like ducks to water. Crappy granules that didn’t even smell good. But they loved it. And in hindsight, I am sure that it was my mother’s rebellion against her own mother’s dainty china cups and weak tea. It was the seventies and I think it made her feel “modern” as she rejected the teacakes and dainties of her own stifled youth and embraced large chunky (very brown) terracotta mugs of steaming coffee. As it empowered her (and annoyed my grandmother) her love for coffee spilt over to anything she could possibly add those strong smelling granules to; coffee scrolls, coffee flavoured cream, coffee icing, and even tea cakes became coffee cakes.

When I grew up, instant coffee was the rage and my parents took to it like ducks to water. Crappy granules that didn’t even smell good. But they loved it. And in hindsight, I am sure that my mother loved it so much partly because it was my her rebellion against her own mother’s dainty china cups and weak tea. It was the seventies and I think it made her feel “modern” as she rejected the teacakes and dainties of her own stifled youth and embraced large chunky (very brown) terracotta mugs of steaming coffee. As it empowered her (and annoyed my grandmother) her love for coffee spilt over to anything she could possibly add those strong smelling granules to; coffee scrolls, coffee flavoured cream, coffee icing, and even tea cakes became coffee cakes.

It took me decades to start unpacking my miserable childhood and as I began writing my memoir last year it finally dawned on me that I had been the piggy in the middle as my mother subtly yet ferociously rebelled against her own childhood and desperately needed me on her side. My mother does not cajole or encourage or explain. She judges and she bullies and she threatens.

Saturday “morning tea” (coffee and cake) was her favourite treat and the highlight of her week. We would all go to the cake shop and choose something special. I chose meringues or apple pie or sponge cake because those were my favourites. It never occurred to me that they represented my grandmother’s choices.

So my choices were squashed and I was not allowed to pick any of those things. I was judged harshly, scolded and belittled in front of the other customers and told that they were childish choices. That I needed to make more “adult choice” like coffee scrolls and basically, all her favourites. And so each week as we stood in the cake shop with a world of choice around us, I could only choose from her handful of favourites.

Coffee flavoured things or nut infested things made me gag. I never learnt to like them for whatever reason and so I would say no thank you. “Your choice” she’d say as if it was. As my siblings acquiesced and we drove home with cakes for everyone but me, and I sat at the table with the rest of the family watching them enjoy their spoils and chug down large brown mugs of coffee, I had to sit there, every week, with nothing.

For decades my mother would pick things for me, and offer me coffee flavoured cakes and creams and so on. Even as a thirty-year-old, she simply didn’t get it. She couldn’t hear I DON’T LIKE COFFEE!

“Oh I know”, she’d say, “but it only has a little bit of coffee in it. You’ll like it”.

NO, I WON’T! I won’t like it just because there is only a little bit in it.

A little bit of something one detests does not make it delicious. It isn’t like the odd brussel sprout on the corner of your plate that is actually good for you and you can swallow it quickly and then enjoy the rest of the meal. Cakes and buns and treats in my totally subjective opinion, are treats, and when I spend those calories and sugars, I want to spend them on something that actually is delicious for me, not on something laced with a taste I don’t like, through every single bite.

if you don’t like the cherry on top, put it aside. If you don’t like the nuts around the crust, leave them. If you don’t like the flavour through the entire thing, then what’s the point?

Coffee is an objective flavour and I totally get that most people in the world enjoy it. But what if it was a little bit of poop? What if someone dropped the cream, picked it back up again and a teeny bit of dirt and bird poop got in, so they just mixed it up so you could hardly taste it or see it?

A teeny bit of something you REALLY don’t like doesn’t make it go away.

Books to me are like cakes. Other than for study, they are special and delicious and a treat and we get to stand in the library or the bookstore and choose the one we would like to read and it has nothing to do with anyone else. So many people say “You should read this kind because it’s more adult” or “I know this one has scenes in it that make you feel uncomfortable but don’t worry about it … it’s just a little bit of whatever“.

If there is coffee or poop in the cream or the book, we won’t like it, no matter how much my mother or anyone else tells us we should. The world is full of books and we get to choose what we read. Over and over authors are told to stick to your genre, that if they add in bits from other genres they can get lost in no-man’s-land where there isn’t enough coffee for it to be a coffee book, but those who hate coffee won’t read it either. A little bit of coffee can spoil an otherwise fabulous book. And readers want to read fabulous books!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith
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Are You On Board?

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Hi to all my readers, friends, supporters and fans (like I have fans LOL)… are you able to help me launch my next book?

Next year I will be launching my first full-length book, my memoir, but I won’t launch till I have a full support team and the support to launch well. So this month I’m going to be sorting it all out, and I’d love to know who’s in, who’s out and what people are happy to do. I don’t want to put ANY pressure on anyone, I also don’t want you to feel you need to be there for me in ways that you don’t want to. Many of you signed on last time to be a part of my launch team and I made the HUGE mistake of thinking that everyone could do everything. But I was wrong and I apologize deeply and sincerely!

I want to do things very differently this time. To give you some idea of how this is going to go, here is what you can expect to see:

November will be loads of posts and lots of sorting, then we will be relatively quiet through to next year. I can’t launch till I get the numbers spelt out below, but when that happens, it will be all systems go for a couple of months through launch and that’s when I’ll need most of your support.

I need you to work out what you are happy with, so please feel free to A: pick one kind of support, B: pick a few ways to support or C: nothing (or to pull out now if you’ve already signed on), or at least pull out well before launch, so I don’t count on you and then get let down.

Here are the different kinds of support:

1: BETA READERS.
A handful of you signed on to be Beta Readers last time and you were an immense help. I have a bunch of tools and an editor this time, so by the time the manuscript gets to Beta Reading time, there will hopefully only be a few mistakes (if any LOL). For you lot, once you have signed on I will interact with you one on one. Beta Readers won’t be needed before next February, maybe even later. I need about 6 of you for this job. If you’re in please email me on the address at the bottom 🙂
2: REVIEWERS:
Some of you are verified Am8zon reviewers, some of you want to be but don’t know how. If you are or want to be (or have a friend who is and is happy to let you review on their account), then you could be a part of this team.
I know that many reviewers hate lots of Facebook posts and don’t need to be part of the build-up and “hype”. So through November, I will be posting HEAPS here about ways to be a good reviewer, how to build your own reputation as an Am8zon reviewer (which has huge benefits), how to get books for free from my other author friends, and so on. Then at the end of November, I will create a mailing list for the Reviewers so that you can get once a month emails specific to this task without having to search your newsfeeds all the time for the relevant info. So again, please let me know if this could be you?
I can’t launch till I have 70 verified reviewers on the team, I’m praying to get at least 50 by the end of this month, and that’s a VERY tall order. These people don’t have to do a thing until launch, but I need them to commit now (and follow through). Then once the book is out those people will “buy” the book for free through the launch, read it and review it with an honest review.
3: BRAND AMBASSADORS:
Others of you don’t want to, can’t, or won’t do verified reviews, and aren’t into Beta Reading either, and I want you all to know that that is TOTALLY fine! I also know that many of you in this category are on Fb almost every day and that you are very visible. I desperately need a team of people like this as well, who can spend a minute or two when you are on Facebook, supporting my brand. “Likes” on posts these days have no success anymore because of “Like farms” and “click farms”, but comments and shares have huge power still. I won’t expect anyone to do things every day, but if you would like to support me by being a Brand Ambassador for Jennifer Peacock-Smith, then that would be awesome! The more the merrier of course, but I can’t launch till I have at least 20 of these. Again, please let me know if you’d like this to be you!
If none of the above appeals to you, please don’t sign on (or quietly remove yourself from the group if you are already on it). I don’t expect ANYONE to stay and won’t be offended I promise, but I need a solid team I can rely on and it’s better to slowly build it with committed members than to think it’s big enough to launch when it isn’t and in reality, half the group aren’t involved.
If you don’t join, (or leave) you will still be loved and you can still see everything when it happens on my Facebook Author Page linked below.

But if you want to join my team, I will eternally grateful! Please either:

*Email me at JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

and/or

*Sign on for my private Facebook Street Team Group HERE!

and/or

*Sign on for my usual brief, monthly newsletters which will have the basics each month HERE.

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

#NaNoWriMo17 day 1

How stupid am I that I sign in to my WriMo account the first day of November and not before?? I can’t remember my password for the life of me so I click for a new one and get this result:

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Um, …… so the last half hour and the first 300 words typed in #NaNoWriMo2017 are my email address and new password over and over and over and over again… with no success… I wonder if 3 million people around the world are doing the same thing? Or if everyone else is way more organised than me?

Oh well… I’d better go write even if I can’t sign the numbers in yet! How’s your day one going?

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

 

It’s Still All About the Writing!

@JPeaSmith Art Monday BlankThank you to EVERYONE who made a massive difference to October and Art Blitz month! I am blown away by the support, generosity, and sales of course. And especially the success of my baby YouTube channel!

It was a huge call to incorporate all the parts of me in one space. Well, nearly all of me. I have struggled with defining the parts of me that matter in the context of my online world. The world screams “DO NOT DEFINE ME!” and “DO NOT PLACE ME IN  BOX!”, “DO NOT CONTAIN ME” and yet, surely it’s more important to be the real me, the whole me, and not just the part of me that the world “likes”.

I’ve always been a Truth person. I’m no good at fake and never have been. I get into trouble for wearing my heart on my sleeve, and yet even then, I cannot begin to tell you what I haven’t told you! Because it’s hard and scary and you may not accept it.

I love my art. It’s an integral, pure, soul cleansing part of me. I art all the time, in one way or another. It is such a big part of who I am and who I was made to be. But in the end, what will it leave behind? What will it achieve? Who will it make a difference to?

And my suffering? Physical, emotional, spiritual… what’s the point of it all?

“Don’t waste your suffering” is a statement that spurs me on to keep writing, to keep making a difference, to keep on keeping on. At the core of everything I do, I want to make a difference. I see my art as a part of that journey, a part of my voice, but in the end, it’s all about what I have to say that will make the biggest impact…

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

What’s in the Prize Pool?

At the beginning of October, there were the following gifts in the Prize Pool. Those with blue links were filmed being made, and are on YouTube (just click on the blue link to watch). The first two I failed to video sorry! Which will you choose if you win?

There is a pair of smaller green earrings and a pink/purple metal bookmark, which I made earlier.

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There is the turquoise Inspire Pack in there.

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There is the green Key Ring (or you could clip onto a zipper pull).

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There are the Tangerine Swirl earrings which are fun.

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Not to mention a signed copy of my book, should anyone choose it 🙂 But somehow I think the artwork will trump the paperback 🙂

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

 

Purple Heart Award

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As many of you know, I love the little people. I love the diehard supporters, and I love the people who are constantly there for others in all the little ways which add up to huge ways.

As I was thinking through October Art Blitz and the giveaways for the people who score the most points, I was reminded that there are some who, for one reason or another, will never win those prizes, but boy are they for me over and over again. They are the names that pop up time and time again in my comments.

These are the people who are there for me month after month. They are the encouragers, they are always sharing the love! And so I decided to give a prize to one of them each month as well, regardless of what other promotions are happening. Many of these people have already been there for the long haul, but others are new to my world and still have been so very encouraging, time and again.

So I will start writing those names down. They will be less obvious to people maybe, and they may not be on the score sheets, but I will choose one each month, and they too can choose from the Prize Pool, OR, as they are experts at what I have been making and writing about etc, they might suggest something else that they would like, it will be up to them!

I am looking forward to seeing who wins the Purple Heart Award in October!! (link takes you to the YouTube very short video showing in fast forward the making of the award. It took nearly 3 hours in real life!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

Art Blitz Giveaway!

YouTube Prize Pool 01

It’s October (In Australia anyway!) Woohoo, and as many of you already know, art is a huge part of my life, and I love teaching and sharing it with those who are interested. I also love sharing the things that I create, so I have decided to give some of them away each month, and create some fun giveaways! So this is how it’s going to work:

October is going to be Art Blitz Month in the @JPeaSmith world, and it is all about getting word out there about the YouTube channel (which is where I showcase my art and teach for free), and the Facebook GROUP (@JPeaSmith Art) where I post all the patterns and instructions for free, and I will be giving YOU points for helping me spread the word. The more you share and tell people about these, the more chances of winning.

There will be 3 prizes awarded in October, one for the person who collects the most YouTube Points, one for the person who collects the most Facebook Points, and one for the new, monthly Purple Heart Award which I will explain in the next post.

YOUTUBE POINTS (You will earn):

  • 1 point for subscribing to the YouTube channel (if you are already subscribed that counts too!).
  • 2 points for every one of your friends and family you get to subscribe as well 🙂
  • 2 point for every YouTube video you share directly to your Facebook page.
  • 2 points for sharing this post to a group you are in and recommending it.
  • 5 points for something truly clever that you might like to think of yourself. Interview me on a big blog, share the channel somewhere that gets a load of traction, let me know what you come up with! 🙂

FACEBOOK GROUP POINTS (You will earn):

  • 1 point for subscribing to the Facebook GROUP (@JPeaSmith Art) (if you are already subscribed that counts too!).
  • 2 points for every one of your friends and family you get to join the group as well 🙂
  • 5 points for making something from the YouTube channel yourself and sharing the pic on the Facebook Group 🙂

The onus is going to be on YOU to keep tabs on your points and record them EITHER on the comments on this post OR on the pinned post on my Author Facebook Page  or on the pinned post on Simply start a comment on the post, and as you collect points across the month, just add them, tagging the people you add as you go, and contribute to the fun. See the example below…

As your friends subscribe and join, they will start their own comment and start earning their own points right away!

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I have created a Prize Pool, which is a collection of things that I make on the YouTube channel, and through October I will add a new item each week, to the handful already in the pool. That means by the end of October, there will be a minimum of 10 things in the pool for the winners to choose from. The remaining prizes will stay in there for the next Giveaways, and any excuse I can find to send them to people for free 🙂

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

Memoir in 3 parts?

img_8570Some people have writer’s block … Others have stories pouring out of them so fast they don’t know where to begin. Most appear to be somewhere in between. There isn’t a right or wrong, and each has its pros and cons of course. But I am the latter, I have a story to tell and it has so many parts that I find myself lost in an ocean of opportunity. I also have the “luxury” of many hours a day in bed writing… many tell me they’d give their right arm to do that (unless they are a writer of course!), but as many of you know, that comes at great cost.

And so I waste time. A lot of time some times, running around in circles following one idea or another…

But in the end, there is an order to all that I have to tell. I jumped the gun with The Lion & the Peacock and I think that gave me an excuse to jump ahead with other tidbits about my life… I have so many things to share! But the truth is, I need to start at the beginning eventually, and the rest will make much more sense once the basics are out anyway.

So it is time to bring out the very first manuscript, the one that I have been playing around with for the last 18 months or so, and dust it off, polish it up, and get it out there!

So this is the current dilemma:

My health does not warrant an old fashioned book signing/launching tour of any kind, or the resources to put out an 85 thousand word story all in one go. Also, eBooks have changed the way we can publish books, and they no longer have to be a set length. My first full-length book has three “parts” to it anyway, each which neatly came out at around 30,000 words. About a third of a full-length novel. But I am told that memoirs don’t work as short reads (is 30,000 a short read?)… so I will be going against tradition somewhat.

So I thought how about Part one as a single eBook this time around, the next part in 2018, and the third in 2019, which would then come out along with the paperback which will be the full-length book only (in all three parts).

Does anyone think that’ll work? And if not why not, and do I then chug away at the whole thing, but only to come out in 2019 or so?

Thoughts?

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

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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

@JPeaSmith

YouTube Channel!

YouTube Basics 001 Introduction

So over the last few months, I’ve been doing a little videoing of my art as I go. I have been encouraged to start a YouTube channel for years but I could not see how it could fit in with my life, writing, resting, travelling etc. But then I stumbled upon a few ideas on how to do it easily. I used to teach art and I love teaching but hate being in front of a camera. So I’ve decided to just be me, stay off camera, and teach as usual… and let the rest flow. I’m loving it, and I’m not putting any pressure on myself at all.

I feel as though it has brought together all the things that I love doing. It also opened me up to a whole new audience. So if you are into art, or YouTube, or just want a look, I’d love it if you’d check it out. Some videos are short and sweet, others for the die hard art fans, are longer and more detailed, but there will be something there for everyone, and yes, they will also be a platform to me to share what I think about the world, health, writing, other authors, and so on … as well as a place to keep doing what I love most 🙂

It will also create things to give away through launches and other events, so watch this space 🙂 …and as always, I’d love your support so please feel free to check out the links on my facebook page etc and share them, subscribe etc 🙂

Subscribe to see them dry & what I do to them next!

http://ow.ly/QPnR30eqP4Y

@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

Building a Launch Team 02

Ok, so let’s talk about some super basic but important realities while we are still in the beginning of the process here. Firstly, everyone knows there is no such thing as a free lunch! Yes, there is “paying it forward” which I am a firm believer in, and there are many good souls in the world who would do just about anything for free. However, we don’t want to take advantage of them, do we?

If I ask people to join my launch team, then I need to offer them something in return. I don’t have a bottomless pit of money and there are so many costs involved in launching a book that I can’t pay people or even give them all a free signed book. Which I would do by the way if I could print the books for free, but we can’t. No one can.

So what can I offer them?

I think it’s important to offer up some free, signed copies. A chance to win a copy is a great hook and as the team will never be that big, the chances of winning one of say half a dozen copies are actually very high. I can have giveaways where the winners are drawn at random, or as I’ve seen on some other launch groups, members can earn “points” along the way and those with the most points each month win the book. I like this idea because it rewards those who put in the most work, and it also means that people enjoy the ability to do something to attain the prize. I’ll talk more about this in the days to come as I work out how I’ll do it for my group.

I do art work in my free time and many times over the years I have made books marks for charity. Not paper ones, but metal ones like these:

So I’ll be making a bunch of them over the next week. I like the idea of more than just a few members of my team being able to win things and these have always been popular (and of course are still book related). I will do a video tutorial on them if you’d like to do similar, as I think that even those without a lot of skill can still make them, depending on what you make them out of.

Of course, people always like to be thanked. I’m not sure I did that well enough last time, so this time I hope to do a better job of it. I plan to design a certificate of appreciation that I can send to all the members, but again, I still need to work on this idea. Many of my supporters live around the globe and international postage is huge, so I need to navigate this somehow. Maybe a printable, emailed version could work? Ideas would be very welcome if you have any!

Lastly, before I go too deep on any of these points, I have also observed that members and authors can quickly become frustrated. They all seem to feel that they give, give, give, and yet also feel that the author is always asking for more. While at the same time I constantly hear from the authors that they feel they were given assurances and then so often let down. So I’m going to try and do things a little differently this time and divide up the jobs. As authors, we need people who can only do a few things, but we need them to do them well, and we don’t need ANYONE to do everything. So I’m going to split the jobs so to speak.

I want to create a Blue Team for those who are certified Amazon reviewers or are able to offer other vital reviews through the first month or so as the book is launched. By launch-time, many of them are sick of hearing the author ask for help in other ways, so why not leave them out of the shouting until they are needed? Because we need them to sign on early and to be committed. But then don’t bombard them with Red Team job requests.

Red Team members might not be able to offer certified reviews, so I won’t nag or even ask them to. But they are the people who are great on social media or their own networking circles and will help create the buzz and excitement in getting the word out there. The best Red Team members will even belong to a Book Club or Community group who are happy to become involved and get behind the author. They are the people most likely to turn one of their meetings around launch day into a launch party of sorts and post the pics on Facebook. Other red Team members can be truly effective by simply following and sharing many of the author Facebook Page posts to get the word out there.

I will still keep both teams under the Launch Team banner as all members will still have the opportunity to give feedback on art work and book covers, to download the book on its free days and to give general, specific, or other feedback, and all of them will be able to receive an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of the book. The Facebook group will then be all about fun, giveaways, photos, background info, and not all about asking asking asking (although there will be a little, but at least people won’t feel bombarded if it isn’t aimed at them all the time).

I will talk more next week in depth on each of these ideas and give you all the opportunity to cater your support to your own needs.

To join my Launch Team, click HERE.

@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