Book Launch and Animals (not a great combo)

Hello, how was your week? Mine was extremely busy! I had the book launch for JOANNA, of course, and I’ll tell you about that in a minute. First, I will tell you about the animals (because they were quite high impact this week).

Do you remember me telling you that the ducks had nested in random places hidden around the pond? Well, last Sunday, when I went up to feed them, there was a mother on the bank, completely traumatised, with 5 ducklings and a ring of cats. I had told myself, that if the ducks chose to nest in weird places, I would let nature take its course, and they could take their chances with all the predators. When it came to it, there was no way I could let 5 ducklings be eaten if I could help. So I called husband, told Mum (who had arrived for a relaxing Mother’s Day lunch) that dinner would be late, and we attempted to catch them. Never easy. I grabbed the cats, one of which was angry when he realised I was heading for the workshop, and who stuck out his claws. (Which meant when I got to the book launch I had big scratches down both arms.)

Anyway, we managed to catch all 5 ducklings AND the mother, which was brilliant. They’re all now safely in the aviary until they’re big enough to survive on the pond.

On the day of the book launch, my daughter kindly came home to help. She wanted to see the ducklings, so went up to the pond. For some reason, when the chickens saw her, they freaked. Perhaps they’ve forgotten her – they’re not the most intelligent of animals. Anyway, all 8 chickens scattered – some flying into trees, some running into their cage, and one cockerel headed onto the bank of the pond, paused for a second, spotted the island in the middle of the pond, and decided to fly to it. Cockerels are not great at flying a distance. He got about half way, then crashed, loudly, into the pond. Great. I assume chickens can’t swim, so prepared to wade into the muddy water (this was not what I was hoping to be doing an hour before my book launch). However, he managed to use his wings like oars, and to propel himself, getting ever lower in the water, up to the island. He hauled himself up and stood there, completely bedraggled, making “I don’t know what to do now” noises.

I decided he could stay there for the night, and went to get everything ready for the evening. When I went up to the pond later, he saw me and decided he could now fly back to the bank. He couldn’t. He again landed in the pond, but managed to clamber onto an over-hanging bush. I waded out, picked him up and shoved him into the cage for the night. Stupid bird! He did look completely forlorn, dripping wet on his perch. (He was fine by the next day, in case you’re wondering).

The book launch went well. I will add a section to the bottom of the “how to publish a book” page on the main blog, explaining what I did, and how the costs worked out. My family were brilliant, helping me set up the hall and serving drinks and selling books. About 60 people came, which was a relief (I was terrified it would just be me and my Mum!) I fed them wine and cupcakes, and did a short talk about why I wrote JOANNA.

I explained that we are all influenced by our family, and I wanted to show how having a psychopath in the family affects everyone else. I told them that part of the book is written in the first person, so the reader sees the world through Joanna’s eyes, they will see what motivates a psychopath, how she thinks and feels. The rest of the book shows how those around her cope with living with her, loving her, being hurt by her. The story examines the idea of choices and forgiveness, and what those things actually mean.

There was one funny moment, when a man walked in, marched purposefully through the group of people chatting, and then went and stood still, staring at a wall. I suggested Husband should check he was okay. Apparently, he had come to see the art exhibition that was advertised outside!

I managed to sell lots of books, which was wonderful. Chloe Hughes, the brilliant young photographer who did the cover photo for me, was there, so it was nice for people to meet her too. She’s very talented. (Even if people don’t like the book, they should buy it just to own a Chloe Hughes photo – she’ll be famous one day!) Now I’m hoping everyone loves the story, and tells their friends and neighbours about it. Nothing sells books like other people talking about it, so I hope they do. (I am not very ‘laid back’ about sales. Whenever an Amazon order comes through, I get very excited and walk around smiling! Honestly, every single time. It is so exciting!)

Thanks for reading. If you would like to buy your own copy of JOANNA, the link is below.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joanna-Anne-E-Thompson/dp/0995463220/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490889251&sr=8-1&keywords=joanna+by+anne+e+thompson

xxxx

Reasons for JOANNA

We all have family don’t we? It doesn’t matter if you live in an adopted family, or with a single parent, or with both parents and a whole host of siblings. We have family. And we are affected by them, we can’t help it.

I have a big sister who I’ve always wanted to be like, and a little brother who always won all the medals for football and continually bounced balls off the back of my head when we walked anywhere. They helped to make me who I am today. As did my parents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Family is what shapes us.

Sometimes, family is embarrassing. When someone begins a sentence, “Did you know your mother…..” I’m never sure what might be coming next. (Usually it’s something good, of course). And in turn, I as a mother feel deeply about everything my children do. Doesn’t every mother feel guilty when things aren’t perfect? When your child has a cold, don’t you wonder if you’re giving them enough vitamins? When your child fails a music exam, don’t you wonder if you should have insisted they practiced more often?

I remember as a teacher, when I needed to speak to a parent and I called for them at the school gate, “Mrs Brown, do you have a minute?” Their eyes would look worried. They always worried I might be going to tell them Billy had done something wrong, or was struggling to keep up with his peers.

These are the ideas that I wanted to consider when I wrote Joanna. Everyone has family, even those in our society who do terrible things. But they are rarely considered. Do you know who Hitler’s mother was? If he had siblings? How they felt about the things he did?

I wanted to write about the family of a psychopath, but first I had to fully understand what it meant to be a psychopath. I have already told you about what I discovered. Then I needed to explain to my readers what it meant to be a psychopath – and when you write a book, you don’t tell, you show. So I showed the reader what the world looked like through Joanna’s eyes, how she felt, what she wanted. When I had done that, I could move towards her family; I could show how they felt, the struggles they experienced being part of her, loving her. I hope, when you read my book, you will understand…

Published by The Cobweb Press
ISBN : 978-0-9954632-2-6
xxxxx
Available from book shops (if it’s not in stock, they can order it for you).

Also available from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joanna-Anne-E-Thompson/dp/0995463220/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489068193&sr=8-1&keywords=joanna+by+anne+e+thompson

Thank you

PS. This evening is the ‘official’ book launch. This is terrifying! Although the local newspapers and radio have been very kind, and the launch has been well publicised, I have this fear that no one will attend. Being an author has many opportunities for public humiliation – you are very ‘out there’ when you publish a book. Hopefully it will be a wonderful celebration with lots of friends and interested people. I will let you know on Monday how it goes.

Joanna

Joanna

cover-sample

Joanna sits on the bus and begins to plan. When Joanna plans, this usually means trouble for those around her. But this particular plan brings more than trouble, it results in fear and death and guilt. But not her own guilt. Joanna is a psychopath, guilt isn’t within the range of emotions she is able to feel.

Written in the first person, we learn Joanna’s story, from the initial spark of her plan, to the horrible aftermath of wrecked lives. You will view the world through Joanna’s eyes – be careful though, she might lie to you.

This is not just her story. We also watch the impact of her actions on those close to her – the woman who raised her, and Joanna’s own daughter. How does it feel to be related to a serial killer? For how long do you carry the burden of their actions? And when it comes down to it, is anyone really innocent?

Joanna

Published by The Cobweb Press
ISBN : 978-0-9954632-2-6

Why not order a copy today?

xxxxx

Available from book shops (if it’s not in stock, they can order it for you).

US Link:

UK Link:

Thank you

dsc00120

xxx

Researching a Psychopath (and how to avoid being killed).

Do you know how to stay safe from a serial killer? Following extensive research into the disorder, I was able to write two novels.  However, I did also learn a few things that might be useful in real life, so read on for some tips on how to stay safe.

Firstly, who is a psychopath? Let’s look at a few traits. Have a think, do you know someone who’s fun to listen to, but tends to be a bit ‘glib’ – they’ll move on if someone more interesting comes along? Someone who might have been in trouble as a child – perhaps stealing or vandalising? Someone who sometimes speaks in quite a muddled manner, so if you ask them a question, you’re not always sure what their answer was? Someone who is mainly concerned with themselves – so they rarely comment, or ‘like’ other people’s posts on Facebook, unless it will benefit themselves. They won’t let you know whether or not they’ll be attending an event – and are very likely to not show up at the last minute. They like to be seen as a leader, but you’re not quite sure what they actually do. They’re often promiscuous, possibly having children from multiple partners. They lie—sometimes blatant, in your face, lies. They like excitement, and are never scared. They have grandiose ideas about their own capabilities. Do you know that person? Then possibly, you know a psychopath.

OFRQ8157

Researching psychopathy was hugely interesting—you can read more at the end of this article. I read many papers by neuroscientists, books by neurologists, and listened for many hours to convicted psychopaths. I even managed to find two mothers prepared to speak to me about raising a psychopathic child.

Going back to my first paragraph, how can you avoid being the victim of a serial killer? It is, of course, extremely unlikely that you will ever encounter a serial killer. Even though you probably know a psychopath or two, they are not likely to be killers. However, in case you are the one in a million who’s unlucky, what should you do?  Well, they are generally well planned, and will have observed a few possible victims first. So changing your routine helps, don’t always do the same things at the same time.

Also, psychopaths do not want trouble, they want an easy life. So the serial killers I researched would always choose a victim who did not have a dog. Dogs are unpredictable, they might bite the psychopath, so they would avoid those houses. (One of Dennis Radar’s first victims did have a dog, but it had been put into the garden.)

As psychopaths want things to be easy, they will think of a ploy to subdue the victim, so they don’t make a fuss until they have either been tied up or knocked unconscious. So, Ted Bundy pretended to have a broken arm and led his trusting victims to a secluded spot. When people found Dennis Radar in their homes, he told them he was ‘on the run from the police’, so instead of instantly panicking and fighting, they relaxed a bit, decided to be submissive until he had taken their money/car/food and had left. Which he never did. He used their compliance to over-power them. If those people had started fighting at the first sign of trouble, they would possibly have survived. If you suspect someone wants to hurt you, run or fight, don’t ‘play it safe’ and ‘wait and see.’ Be loud, make a fuss, fight.

Having said that, I think the odds of you being killed by a serial killer are much less than the odds of you winning a million pounds on the lottery or being a famous celebrity – so it’s not something you should worry about too much!

xxxx
anneethompson.com
xxxx

Thank you for reading. I am often asked, could the president be a psychopath? In reply, I tell them to read CLARA, as the novel shows clearly how a psychopath thinks and behaves. Most psychopaths are never convicted of any crime, and CLARA shows how, in some circumstances, the disorder could be a strength.

In JOANNA, I wanted to show the impact of living with a psychopath, and how it feels to be the mother of a killer.

Both books are available from bookshops and Amazon. The links are below. Why not buy one today?

The latest, and best book (in my opinion). An exciting novel written in the first person, which shows how a psychopath views the world. The story encompasses the world of women trafficked in India, and shows how someone very bad, can be used to achieve something amazing.

A gritty thriller, which shows what it means to be a psychopath, and how it would feel if someone in your family did something awful. (Because every psychopath has a mother.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK link for CLARA:

US Link for JOANNA:

UK Link:

xxxxxxxxxx

Extra Information for the Interested:

Psychopathy is a mental disorder – the brain does not respond like most people’s brains. They tend to have a smaller orbital frontal gyri (no, I didn’t know what that meant either! It means the front bit of their brain, the bit that controls empathy, is underdeveloped). They also have lower serotonin levels, so lack the ability to feel happy, to have emotional highs.

Now, most psychopaths are NOT serial killers. People tend to link the two because the reverse is not true – most serial killers probably are psychopaths. Robert Hare estimates that for every serial killer, there are 30,000 psychopaths who have never killed.

One trait of psychopathy is pathological lying. They will lie, even when it serves no purpose. If you suspect someone is a psychopath, think back to what they have told you – is it verifiable? Can you always prove what they have said is true, or do they tend to twist things slightly? It is thought that lots of politicians are psychopaths, as are the CEOs of many successful businesses.

It is difficult to detect lies though, especially as psychopaths tend to speak in a slightly confusing way. Sometimes they will contradict themselves within a sentence, so it is hard to be sure exactly what they have said. Some neuroscientists believe that they have two speech centres in the brain. For most people, everything relating to speech and words is located on the left side of the brain. However, there is some evidence that psychopaths have a second speech centre, on the right.  Dennis Radar was told he spoke in ‘word salad’ – a whole mix of phrases that barely linked.

You can watch psychopaths on YouTube, as trials and police interviews in the US are recorded, and are now available. I spent many hours listening to Ted Bundy (thought to have killed around 50 young women), Diane Downs (who shot her children), and Dennis Radar (the ‘Bind Torture Kill’ serial killer), learning their speech patterns and trying to understand how they think.

When I first started to watch video clips of convicted serial killers, I was shocked by how nice they were! I have always thought myself a good judge of character – and perhaps if I met them in real life it would be different – but they came across as nice people. Ted Bundy was an attractive, witty, intelligent man. If we knew him, we might have invited him round for dinner. He talks about coming from a ‘loving Christian family’ where he was ‘raised according to standards in the Bible’. However, my background reading indicates his mother fell pregnant when young, and some believe Ted’s father was his grandfather, who she lived with until she married another man. Ted Bundy for many years thought his mother was his sister.

They are often entertaining, very charismatic. Charles Manson (leader of the ‘Manson Family’ sect) was fascinating to watch, you couldn’t avoid listening to him.

Psychopathy is now diagnosed using Hare’s checklist – a list of traits. Most people have some of these traits, a psychopath will have most of them. Psychopathy is a spectrum, a bit like autism (though a very different disorder.) An autistic person will have emotional empathy, they will ‘feel’ how someone else feels, so detect anger or joy, but they will not understand why. A psychopath is the opposite, they will have neurological empathy, they understand how someone is feeling, and can even use this to manipulate people’s feelings, but they have no emotional empathy. A toddler laughing will not make them smile, they don’t pick up the ‘feelings’. You will probably appear somewhere on the psychopathic spectrum, perhaps you are selfish, or like to be in charge, or don’t often feel other’s emotions; but mostly, you will have the same responses as everyone else. You are only classified as a psychopath if you show most of the symptoms.

The neuroscientist James Fallon, was researching the changes in the brain under certain stimuli using an MRI scanner. He found he could detect psychopathy by the results of an MRI scan, he could actually see who was a psychopath.

You can read more about psychopaths, and my research, and general author-type things on my blog. Why not take a look today? Oh, and don’t forget to follow those links and check out my novels! Thank you. x

 

 

Anne E. Thompson has written several novels and one non-fiction book. You can find her work in bookshops and Amazon.

Speaking on the Radio (very exciting and slightly terrifying…)

I was invited to speak on Meridian FM, which was very exciting (and rather terrifying!) I’ve never been on the radio before, so had no idea what to expect.

I arrived about half an hour too early, because I was stressing about being late or not being able to park anywhere. I ended up going for a walk, so it was lucky the weather was warm. Then I went inside.

Meridian FM is based at the Jubilee Centre in East Grinstead, which is a large building (with a big carpark) in an industrial estate. The downstairs rooms are used for a playgroup and community events. I was told to go up to the first floor. At the top of the stairs was a door, with signs warning me to be quiet if the red light was lit as they would be on air. How exciting is that!

I then went in to an extremely hot room (they seriously need some air conditioning) and I waited until Samantha Day, whose show I was speaking on, was ready. One of the local journalists, who knew I would be there, popped in too, to take a photo. (So I was glad I had worn some make-up, I nearly hadn’t bothered as it was the radio and no one would be able to see me!)

I sat on a chair, facing a big orange mic. Samantha did a sound check, telling me to move nearer and nearer. I told her I was a teacher, I could speak as loud as she wanted – she said to speak up a bit! On the desk was a whole lot of equipment – computers, sound desk type stuff, wires. The other side sat Samantha, and a student doing work-experience. They wore headphones, and Samantha controlled the volume, played music etc in between interviewing me. She was very good at her job. There was a lot going on all at once – I arrived as she was finishing with other guests, she was interviewing, putting on music, directing us, welcoming me and saying goodbye to them, all at once. No one else was up there. When she hasn’t got guests, it must be a weirdly lonely job. Strange to be talking to 8,000 listeners in a room entirely on your own.

My interview was fine (big relief). I had sent Samantha some information about psychopaths, and she had formed questions from this. To be honest, I had forgotten what I’d sent her, and probably wandered ‘off script’ a bit, but it didn’t seem to matter. I can waffle about psychopaths for hours. I could see her while we talked, so I managed to forget other people were listening, and it was really just a chat between the two of us.

My daughter had sent a whole lot of instructions about what not to say – “Jokes about Nanny won’t be funny”, and I managed to not do anything wrong. Husband had suggested a few jokes in case I got stuck – but none were at all suitable, so I didn’t repeat any of those. I also resisted the temptation to do the whole interview in a foreign accent, and managed to not swear. So all in all, a success.

Of course, the main purpose for me was to promote JOANNA and the book launch. Samantha was brilliant here, and asked me right at the beginning to explain where and when the launch was, so I could forget about that and just chat about psychopaths. Hopefully it will encourage some interest in the book. I was able to explain how psychopaths think differently, their brain doesn’t process information and respond in the same way as most people’s. I then told her that I had written JOANNA partly in the first person, showing the reader how Joanna viewed the world. The rest of the book shows how other people are affected by Joanna, what it was like to parent her, live with her, work with her. As the reader hears from other people, they realise that Joanna lied to them in the first part of the book, that her view of the world is not an accurate one.

I do hope it will lead to some sales. I am back in East Grinstead on 8th April, to do a book signing at the bookshop there. Hopefully people will come. So far, everyone has been very interested in the book – I think psychopathy is a hugely interesting subject, and people seem fascinated by it. I will let you know what happens next.

xxx

Thank you for reading.

JOANNA is available from bookshops and Amazon.

Published by The Cobweb Press
ISBN : 978-0-9954632-2-6
Available from bookshops (if it’s not in stock, they can order it).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joanna-Anne-E-Thompson/dp/0995463220/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489598940&sr=8-1&keywords=joanna+by+anne+e+thompson

xxx

How to Advertise a Launch Party (which is mostly scary….)

Hello, how are you? I hope you’ve had a good week.

I’ve been busy advertising the launch of JOANNA. As I have said before, I love writing books, researching new ideas and weaving them into a story. And I pretty much hate everything to do with all sales and promotions once the books are published. I think many authors do, but it’s part of the job. When you are self-published, the whole promotion exercise is down to you. It is therefore hugely appreciated when people help – whoever they might be.

One great piece of help recently was from a friend who bought Hidden Faces and lent it to one of her friends (who I don’t know). Now, mostly, lending a book results in a lost sale for the poor author. However, this friend of a friend happens to run an online bookshop. She read the book, loved it, sent me a very nice email and ordered 40 copies to sell. That was a very nice help.

JOANNA has also been featured in local newspapers. Again, I always really appreciate this, as it’s a good way to tell people about my book. I was on the front cover of The County Border News. Embarrassing photo, but good advert for the book:

There was also a nice article in The Edenbridge Chronicle:

If you want to be featured in a local paper, I would suggest emailing the editor to ask if this is the sort of thing they cover. If you can include some local interest – like that you attended a local school, or were the postman in the town for many years, or your Dad ran the chip shop, it encourages them to take an interest in you. They want to know their readers will care that you have written a book (because these days, loads of people self-publish!) I have found the local journalists to be incredibly supportive, which was unexpected and rather nice.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about being interviewed on the radio. I’ve never done that before.

If you would like to buy a copy of JOANNA, it’s now available on Amazon, and can be ordered from all bookshops.

Published by The Cobweb Press
ISBN: 978-0-9954632-2-6

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joanna-Anne-E-Thompson/dp/0995463220/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489248115&sr=1-1&keywords=Joanna+by+anne+e+thompson

 

Book Promo for JOANNA – never easy…..

Hello, and how was your week? Mine has been frustratingly slow – some weeks just go like that don’t they. I have however, made a little progress on the book promoting front.

Firstly, I have, I think, managed to add paragraphs to my description on Amazon. On Facebook, I belong to a couple of writer’s groups. One is the Association of Christian Writers (which I had to pay to join) and one is the SciFi Roundtable (which was free). Now, the Scifi one is brilliant. They are a group of authors who all try to help each other, promote each other’s books, offer feedback on writing, etc. They are also very funny, so I enjoy the general banter and jokes, even if I don’t always join in (I think most of them are rather more intelligent than me!) Anyway, I asked them about the whole paragraph on Amazon thing, and they told me to add <p> at the start of a paragraph, and <p/> at the end. It worked. At least, it did for Hidden Faces. I now need to try it for the JOANNA description.

Second bit of news is I finally have a trading agreement set up between Gardners and Waterstones. This has taken a very long time! I now need to submit a copy of JOANNA to Waterstones, and hope they like it enough to stock it in their shops (it is already available on their website). Of course, they do not actually tell you where to send a copy, you have to send a form asking for the address. Which all takes time. Luckily, books don’t have a ‘sell-by’ date.

I was also interviewed by a local journalist. This was less scary than last time (everything is less scary than last time). We met in a cafe, full of men who either looked like builders having a late breakfast, or retired gentlemen on their own having coffee. I was the only female in the cafe. We talked about JOANNA, and I launched into all the amazingly interesting facts I have discovered about psychopaths. Now, my family have begun to be less than enthusiastic about psychopaths, but that cafe full of blokes were captivated! I became aware that all the other tables were silent and listening to our conversation. Then they started to join in – leaning across to ask if I thought President Trump was a psychopath! It was very funny. Hopefully, it might also sell a few books when it appears in shops in April.

The journalist took a photo (always embarrassing) and said he would write an article to coincide with the book launch on 29th March. I do hope the article is about JOANNA, and not about me – I’m quite a private person really. He has since emailed me. He is sometimes invited to speak on Meridian FM and BBC Radio Surrey, and has suggested to them that I could go and talk about psychopaths. This would be both brilliant and extremely scary. Good for the book promo though, so I hope something happens. I will let you know.

xxx

Since writing this, another journalist contacted me, asking for an interview. This one wanted a photograph of me “at my desk”. Now, when you have a family, “your desk” tends to be any available space that’s not too noisy. At present, it is my dressing table, in my bedroom. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to take a stranger into my bedroom (especially as I wasn’t sure when they emailed if they were male or female – a bloke might’ve got the wrong idea when I started to lead him upstairs!) So, I decided to ‘create’ a desk downstairs, in the corner of the kitchen. I do sometimes work there, but usually surrounded by lost socks and piles of laundry and odd items the dog has brought me. So I did bit of a tidy up. I also realised just how many dead plants I own. Seriously, every window sill in the house had a dead plant on it! They had to go. As did the muddy paw prints on the floor and the pillow worth of dog hairs. By the time she arrived, I had done a major Spring Clean and was exhausted. Next time, I shall do what J K Rowling did, and pretend I wrote my books sitting in cafes.

I am hoping the interview part went well. She seemed very interested, anyway – and told me about a few people she knows, asking if I thought they were psychopaths.

I have also booked a table at the Easter Market in town. This will be a good place to sell signed copies of JOANNA in April. It is all beginning to fall into place.

To preorder JOANNA, please follow the link:

https://anneethompson.com/published-books/joanna/

xxx