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

 

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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

#WritingTip 1:

Just a short one while I’m thinking of it. I was asked about my number one writing tip and I think it is that I seek honest feedback. I totally appreciate that it can be difficult to give sometimes, but I am most grateful for honesty. Truly.

I don’t ask beta readers, coaches or friends to make me feel good, I ask them how I can improve … and I love the answers. Sometimes they can be “wrong” but they are never unhelpful and usually they are right. 

Sometimes we differ on opinion or advice and sometimes it is different “grammar rules” but for the most part, they each lift my game a little (and sometimes a lot),  and it is a little like having a mirror placed in a blind spot, a light shone in a dark corner, or a lid being lifted on a whole new jar of tricks. I love that they want these things for me!

It sounds so obvious but it isn’t. And I have to say, I’d do the same for you. When I beta read for others I try to be as honest as I can, and I know it’s not easy. No one wants to hurt feelings. But do yourself a favour and #AskForHonesty.

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Where I hang 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

Breaking The Two Thousand Barrier

img_1139I had no idea how many books would sell, but twelve days in and we got the results from Kindle yesterday. Over two thousand books have been sold so far and we haven’t even been out 2 weeks yet! Most went on the free days of course, but the idea is to get it out there and help people with anxiety to get some real tools that they can do something with, so that is a massive start. Word is trickling out there and I have already been asked to speak to a group of counselors (I will let you know when that is firmed up).

One of the hardest things about writing is wondering whether people will ever want to listen (read) what you have to say, and the feedback so far is something that I could only ever have wished for before now. I had been asked to speak about my techniques before but felt nervous and embarrassed and needed to get the words onto paper first. So I would always turn down the opportunities. But now that the book is out and receiving such rave reviews I am starting to feel a little braver. So it is time to put on my big girl pants and start saying yes! I need to get the practice and I need to get my nerves out on the smaller groups before I get to the bigger ones.

It feels so much safer to stick to my friendly wonderful following and keep my neck inside my tortoise shell where I won’t get knocked around so much, but I know that if I want to get the next book out there and this one to more people to help them, then I have no option but to stick my neck out! So thank you all for giving me the encouragement and strength to do so!

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Newsletter: To be on included on my no spam email newsletter list to get updates and specials first (and often exclusively), just sign up HERE for free 🙂

SO Close (and yet so far!)

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Out of more than seventy thousand books that are free on any one day on Amazon Kindle, making the top 100 is a huge deal. For no other reason than that the algorythms change and Kindle push you forward. But you need to make that list. Yesterday I got to 108, how close is that! Out of all those tens of thosuands of books I came within eight of making the good list. Today is the last day of the free giveaway and we are starting to slip, so if you are any position to spread the word and a bunch of people grab it while it is free, we still could do it. But it is today or bust!

I am so blown away by your support so far and the amount of people who have taken a chance on an unknown author. 108 is pretty good! So I’d love to launch into the next phase of “just sitting there for sale” …..with a bang and a “best seller” tag 🙂

We are number one in stress managment and number one in short reads (under 90 minutes)…

You can share it on Twitter, Facebook, or simply email it to anyone.

The full link to the book itself is here, or look it up on Amazon in your region by seraching for Jennifer Peacock-Smith, or The Lion and the Peacock”

link: https://www.amazon.com/Lion-Peacock-How-Conquered-Anxiety-ebook/dp/B01N5N0121/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

Anxiety Champions Part 3:

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-1-13-19-pmPart three in my series on Anxiety Champions is also someone from Survivor Season 33 in my beloved Fiji Islands. Hannah Shapiro is hilarious, but there is also a really serious side to her, and she is very openly and visibly someone who suffers from anxiety. But more than that, during the show she has a full blown panic attack and many people have remarked about or remembered her infamous lines, “I can’t feel my hands!” and “don’t let me die!”.

For me, this is such an incredibly vulnerable moment, where she totally forgets the cameras, she is utterly and completely consumed by her panic attack, and simply from the words she cries out, this is clearly extremely scary for her. This is the first time that I have witnessed a panic attack from the outside, and it was fascinating for me to watch. Having experienced hundreds of these myself, I have only seen them from the inside and I was shocked by how “normal” it looks from for an onlooker.

Hannah I think is one of those people who not so much embraces her anxiety but she is learning to live with it and does not let it hold her back. She is clearly funny, articulate and very bright, so she is in no way defined by her anxiety, but she is a wonderful ambassador for what living with anxiety looks and feels like. Thank you, Hannah!

 

 

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Free for a Few (days):

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I am so blown away by the public response to my book! I have no idea what I expected: we all (well me anyway) have a dream, a hope, a best-case-scenario that goes around in our heads, as well as a total disaster worst-case-scenario which we dread. I sometimes feel as though I am a goldfish, going around and around in circles, regularly coming to exactly the same space I was a few hours ago and having exactly the same reaction “this is going to be fine…” and then “What on earth was I thinking, putting my heart and soul out there, they are all going to laugh at me!” And then “this is going to be fine (again).

So in terms of what I thought would happen, well, I had absolutely no idea what to expect or what was realistic. And I still think that all the people who will ever like it have now said so and now it will flop completely…

Total strangers have bought my book and so far every single review has been 5 stars. Now THAT is something that I did not even hope for in my best-case-scenario dream! But I am also realistic and maybe this is where the good part of the dream ends?

The book will be FREE for a few days from right now through Saturday, so please feel free to download it, read it and let me know what you think. And to let anyone else know who may be interesting.

I am also learning that reviews are everything. I saw a picture on Twitter today with the headline “Authors can’t sell books without reviews!” and if I had a dollar for every time that I have heard that in the last year then I wouldn’t need to write books; I’d be rich! I know that as a reader I never understood the value other than ego, of writing a review, but now I do! The algorithms and stats are there for a reason so that people can’t sell or use robots for “fake” reviews, but it does mean that there is a load of importance placed on real ones, and these are used for Amazon to decide who they promote and who they don’t. And so now I am slowly chipping away at writing a review for every book that I have ever read!

So if you have a few moments of time and have not read the book yet, then I would love you to read it for free here, and an honest review would mean the world to me! 🙂 You can leave one at Goodreads as well as on the Amazon book itself:

Anxiety Champions Part2:

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-45-53-pmPart two in my series on Anxiety Champions is someone that I have never had any interaction with but I would love to meet one day. If you have never heard the name David Wright then you have very sadly missed what I believe to be the greatest season ever of Survivor (yes, my favorite show!).

David found his way quickly into the hearts of all the Season 33 fans not so much because he had anxiety but because he truly dug deep (as Jeff would say) and has for me become somewhat of an ambassador for what digging deep really means. During the first few episodes, he left me cringing and wanting to protect him. He could not have faked those instantaneous moments when he almost constantly jumped out of his skin. I know that there is a whole lot of editing in all these “real life” shows, but you can’t fake a reaction like that. By a third of the way through the season, this guy had found his groove. He realized that people loved him just for who he was and he didn’t try to be someone different. He simply allowed himself to be David, and everyone fell in love.

For me, David is someone who put his anxiety out there. He is also someone who is not afraid to talk about it. If you know anything about me by now then you would know that I am all about being transparent and being real and David is both of those things.

I believe passionately in building community in order to make a safe and fertile environment for anyone to heal. And season 33 was a picture perfect example of that. David thrived because the community that he was in accepted him for who he was. We need to keep making communities like that in our own corners of the world so that we give people safe and fertile places to do just that. This gave David the space to win hands down, and he is also no doubt someone who is still fighting hard.

I would love to know how he is going and I hope that he becomes a long-term ambassador for anxiety. Thanks, David!

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Why I stopped writing my Memoir to Share my Anxiety Story

For most of 2016, I had no choice but to spend every waking hour adjusting to my new normal after losing most of my mobility due to complications with my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It was certainly nothing like what I had planned for the year and at first, I thought that life as I had known it was gone forever. In many ways I was right, it was gone forever, but it also opened the door to a part of me that I had always known was in there but never had the time, courage or circumstance to bring out. Hours upon hours every day in bed gave me the unique opportunity to start to write, and I soon found my voice and my space to tell my story.

A very long and complicated story that is going to take a while to take apart and put back together again into chunks that make great books which are easy for people to read and get something out of. After ten months of hard and often emotionally painful work, I had written enough for two full-length novels (which I hope will come out this year some time). But when I got to the part where I talked about the thread of anxiety and panic attacks that had run through a decade or more of my journey, I stopped there.

When I sit down to write every day I generally let my fingers and my soul tell the story for me and I look forward to seeing what comes out. I had got the anxiety bits out in a few days of hard writing but in the week or so that followed and I sat down to write each day, my soul and my fingers stayed on topic and never moved from it. They kept going back and back to the anxiety and panic, and I realized then that I was supposed to stop there for a reason. When you live in a story day to day, week, month and year to year, it is so easy to get lost in the bigger picture and to forget how hard we worked or how much we achieved.

I had battled hard with anxiety and it very nearly consumed me completely. As anxiety and panic attacks merged with some of the serious side effects of my as yet undiagnosed genetic condition, the cocktail of symptoms from both made it even harder to separate them. Serious issues were chalked up to anxiety and dismissed, while some of the scarier effects of the anxiety were wrongly treated as life or death situations. The whole mess created even more fear and confusion which of course only fed the anxiety.

My journey through so many failed attempts to solve my anxiety as well as my medical issues was a long and painful one which ultimately led me to break point, where I literally landed up on the floor of the church foyer across the road begging for help. Thankfully the poor stunned receptionist who had no idea what to do with me remembered that a trauma counselor was on call and phoned him immediately.

Next door to the church was a library and between the kind advice from the retired counselor and the medical books on the shelves, over the next four months, I began to put all the pieces of information together that I needed to turn this all around. And in the end, I eventually did. I won! I beat my anxiety permanently.

I realized two things as I was writing all this; that I don’t want everyone to have to buy my novels in order to get what may help them with their own anxiety, and that the anxiety thread is way too important to squash into a single chapter among dozens of other things. And so was born the idea of a short (less than an hour) book that tells the stripped down version of how I beat my anxiety and the tools needed to replicate it.

And so was born the idea of a short (less than an hour) book that tells the stripped down version of how I beat my anxiety and the tools needed to replicate my success. I am still going to tell all the other stories, but until then, The Lion and the Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety, will be available on Amazon Kindle from the 8th of January 2017. You can sign up here to get an email as soon as it is out as well as when it will be out in paperback, and other exciting news:

Yes please, SIGN ME UP! (no spam I promise!)

You can also follow, support and share exclusive pictures and get up-to-date news on all my books on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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Anxiety Champions Part 1:

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-06-18-pmToday I am starting a series on Anxiety Champions. What on earth are those I hear you ask? For me, they are people who put their anxiety out there. Some are winning hands down, many are still fighting hard, some have even simply said, “you know what, I am just going to live my life with this anyway!”.

But what makes them unique in my eyes is that they put themselves out there, and they are not afraid to talk about it. If you know anything about me by now then you would know that I am all about #BeingTransparent, and #BeingReal. I love honesty, I am on the truth side of the spectrum (while learning to have an equal measure of Grace along the way), and I believe deeply in building community in order to make a safe and fertile environment for anyone to heal.

Writing for me is about sharing my voice, but there is no point in me using it if I don’t have a community to hear me, challenge me or grow me. Anxiety is my hot topic right now because of my book, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are many out there who are fighting their own battles as well and that many of them are real champions.

Today’s Anxiety Champion is Matt Pappas from Surviving My Past. If you follow me on Twitter you would know that I often tweet his posts, and in theory, I am going to be guest blogging on his site a bit this year (but too afraid to start, because he does his so well!). And … he has so generously and kindly written the Foreword of my book on Anxiety which hits Kindle Stores this weekend. I feel so honored to be connected to such a true and vulnerable human being.

His blogs and writings are so real, so candid, and if you want to know what it is like both living and healing from anxiety, trauma, PTSD and so on, then this is your man. He works hard at sharing his journey and he isn’t afraid every now and then to stand back and say that he is struggling a bit and to take a break from his on-line community. I often open my Twitter to find a tweet of someone cheering him on. And they cheer him on because they love him. He inspires them and he is so very generous with his wisdom, guidance, and deep and honest opinion.

Matt cuts no corners, dresses up nothing, … he simply puts his battle with anxiety out there and I feel encouraged just knowing that I am not alone. Thank you, Matt!

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