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

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

Memoir Fest!

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It is ages since I have written about my memoirs. My first love, my “great work.” They were kind of pushed to the backburner when I stopped to publish the chapter-which-turned-into-a-book on Anxiety. Not that I regret that, it was the best decision that I have made in a long time. But now I am back into the swing of things and writing two memoirs at the same time.

This time last year I started writing the first memoir in the series, and over the rest of the year, I kept going. I got so much out of it in all kinds of ways, but now I need to go back to the first drafts and work on publishing and putting them out there. Which means a ton of editing. It is hard work, way harder than simply “sitting at the computer and bleeding it onto the screen”. But my mind doesn’t stop and the stories are still not yet all told.

But there are pieces of stories that are too painful for other people, too detailed or complicated to fit into the ebb and flow of one of the other books, or too small to become a book on their own. And so I am left with a jar of deeply painful, vitally important, singular events which have no home. Stories that need to be told, stories that later books need the reader to already know. And it has been bothering me.

But also bothering me has been a new desire to write fiction. I am a little shocked and very surprised. But there you have it. The seed has been planted and I didn’t know what to do with my jar or this seed. And then last week I realized that I could blend the two. Tell a fictional story and place everything from the jar within it. Accurate and truthful pieces, which now will get to see the light of day with a new name, a new place, and a little bit of new packaging.

And so when my mind is clogged with editing and I cannot go on, but my fingers are itchy and busting to bleed … I bring out the new book and out it flows! 2017 is going to be an interesting year for me and for my writing! These two threads that are happening side by side; editing the memoirs and weaving parts of them into Fiction. Roll on 2017 I say!

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

And the count down begins!

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-10-56-43-amA new year, a new book, and I am actually feeling a little overwhelmed by how fast this is all growing! I am now writing for a few different publications which I am super excited about. I am thoroughly enjoying writing for The Mighty and hope that this will become my main Chronic Illness Voice in 2017. We are working on that behind the scenes and I will let you know how that goes. It is quite different to writing books but I love that I can speak a small snippet of my life and my work without having to fit in to a lengthy book. I am finding it a fabulous way to develop my writing ability as well, as I enjoy being stretched in a different direction.

The Facebook page is also slowly growing. Obviously I would love it to grow fast but I feel a little as though I am being pulled in a few directions and with my health restrictions I can only push myself so far before I do some serious damage. But thanks so much to everyone who has followed it and is sharing my posts!

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The book should be available on Kindle next week, the only reason that a date isn’t set in stone is because the holiday period has meant that so many people who are needed in the process have shut up shop … and good for them! MailChimp for example are doing a fabulous job of keeping track of those of you wonderful people who have signed on for the newsletters (which will tell you when the book is out!) but they have had a glitch and so we can’t even send out a test email yet until they get back to us… So we are waiting on a handful of those kinds of things before we can confirm 🙂

If you missed the opportunity to put your email on the mailing list, which will give you launch dates as well as let you know in advance which days the book will be promoted for free etc, then please feel free to email me on jenniferpeacocksmith@gmail.com and I will manually add your email address to the list 🙂

The book itself is going well and the Beta Readers have given me such wonderful feedback and there are so many people who have offered to share it on their blogs and websites, so if you would like to do the same just let me know!

Thanks for journeying with me on this, I am soooo nervous and yet excited about this book and I hope you will get as much from it as those who have so far read it 🙂

(You can also follow me on Twitter if that’s you thing 🙂 )

Remembering Facts…

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 8.17.48 PMMy Proof Readers have been asking my how on earth I remember so many things about my childhood to be able to write about it so clearly and to include so many important facts, so I thought I’d write a bit about that today for anyone else who is writing their memoirs or autobiography.

The first big thing is that we remember the things that stand out from the crowd, and anything that happens that is traumatic does just that; it stands out and leaves a much greater impression. Sometimes of course these traumas are so huge that our brains actually hide them away to “protect” us, but they are still there. Some of these kinds of memories I do address in my books, but they happened to others in my life who totally believed that their childhood was perfect …. until they realised that it wasn’t.

But for myself and my experiences, where I do remember, the reason that we remember the traumatic things, is because they have such an impact on our lives. This impact is then either so great that it is just something so huge that you can’t possibly forget it, like losing a loved one or moving country or losing a job. But it is more than that. These memories are then reinforced over and over, because so much in our world around us is changed by that event. Moving and losing something are quite obvious, but less other traumas  where other than for that event everything else in our lives remain “normal”, the trauma itself is still just so huge that we can never forget it. Even if we try to forget,  visual, taste, smell and other sensory reminders don’t allow us to forget and can take us back in an instant.

Long term abuse is the same thing just on a different time scale. Instead of one “major” event … lots of “not so huge” but equally damaging events add up over time, and still leave that mark on our memories.

The thing about writing them down though, and telling the whole story, is that we need to create context, and tell the things that help our story to make sense for those who are reading it. And this requires remembering not only the incident, but everything around it, and the “who” and “where” can be easy but the “when” can be hard to pinpoint. And this is where it becomes tricky in theory as my proof readers have assumed, but I have actually found it quite easy and here is how:

When I started writing my first book I knew the timing of everything not just because I have a good memory and have a bunch of traumatic stories to tell, which are both true, but in the interest of checking my facts and making sure that I was right, I spent a whole day doing nothing but writing out a timeline. I made a chart with the years down the left and then made five or six columns. Column one was the year starting with the year that I was born… easy. Second column was what age I turned each year… again, easy. Then the third column was what year levels I was in at school. This sounds super basic but when you are working out how old you were especially under ten years old, I don’t know about you but I can’t remember how old I was the year I started school for example. But I do know what year level I was in when I had my ninth birthday, and so I started in the middle of that column and put that in, then worked my way both forward and backwards from there. I also remembered what year I was in when I turned sixteen and that correlated so I knew that column three was accurate as well… locked and loaded 🙂

So far I had built a construct that was impartial in all ways, and facts that are set in concrete. Then I went to the fourth column and wrote down from memory and old school photos and documents, who my teacher was in each of those years and looked at the children in my class that year. I have quite a few photos from my childhood but most are not dated and many of the school photos are missing. But there was enough to put some basics into column four that are hard and fast facts. Then other school or other photos can be slotted into the gaps based on clothing, hair styles, all kinds of things. My column four landed up being pretty full other than a couple of gaps which I was happy with.

The fifth column was the big one, and I it contained anything that I could think of that was important. I knew that my great grandmother had died in 1974, and I knew that a couple of major events in my life happened when I was seven, and so I slotted in those things that I know for certain. Major life events, small and big details like braces and injuries and holidays and so on went into this column. Then when I had this solid picture, I was able to pinpoint the less accurate things based around them. For example, at one point in my childhood we went on a holiday where one of my trauma stories happened. I knew that I was somewhere between 11 and 14 when it happened, but wasn’t entirely sure. But there were other things about that holiday that with my chart I could pinpoint: I knew that it was in the January holidays, so that narrowed it down to the month but not the year. A friend came with me and was a peripheral person in the trauma. On the chart I saw that of the four summers that it could have been, for one reason or another three of the four Januaries were ruled out; either she could not have been with me, her hair in the holiday photos could not have grown that much since the Christmas photo that I had with her in it of one of the Decembers, and a number of other things left only one January that it could have been.

It isn’t always that “easy” to narrow it down, but it may not actually matter. If you can’t pinpoint to a month or a week or a day, and there is no change to the story for one or two things to happen slightly out of order or within a time frame that covers a couple of months or years, then it may not really matter. It mattered to me when I told my story because of relevance to other things, but that may not be the case for everyone.

I also worked out that sitting and stewing on something doesn’t help or make it’s date jump out of nowhere. I would move on to other things and place settings, and I often found then when I went back to the things I was struggling with, there were more things that helped. I didn’t always come up with things made me more sure of a date but I often found that when so many others were slotted in, there were no other possibilities left but one.

I wrote my chart simply so that as I was writing I wasn’t having to count on my fingers every time I wanted to know exactly how old I was for any part of the story. But it landed up being way more important and helpful than that. There were stories that I could pinpoint the year because of a certain specially kind teacher that I had or a bad experience at school being bullied… so my intention was that I had something simple to look at every time I wanted to say how old I was, but it turned out that I had a frame work to capture more than that and put things in orders that I didn’t know yet would make a difference to me and my story.

So if you are writing your story and are having trouble with memory, I highly recommend this chart. I spent a day on it, but I also often went back to it not just to get information from it, but to add information. As I wrote, other things came back to me, which I could then add to the chart. As I start the second book now, I have spent time doing the chart for the next couple of decades as I found that first one just so helpful 🙂