#Multiverse #Experiment this week: Tomorrow’s Story Written Today

#Multiverse #Experiment this week: Tomorrow’s Story Written Today

Will this week’s story turn out as #ClaraBranon writes it?

Excerpts, below, from Volume II, the sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian ebook in #TheSpannersSeries, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., available for pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook, April 15 – June 8, 2014, and for sale via all those and Amazon as well, release date June 9, 2014.

Logo and cover art for The Spanners Series by Willowraven.

Pre-order Links will be available after April 15 and buy links after June 9 on http://www.sallyember.com

Here is what Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 59, the main character of The Spanners Series, writes while reminiscing about her life in 2014 from the vantage point of 2018:

It is a dark and stormy night. Picture “Snoopy,” Charles’ Schulz’s humanized beagle from the much-loved Peanuts comic strips, typing away on his old black typewriter atop his doghouse, hard at work on his novel. He always writes that line, first, with the ALT [According to Linear Time] “was” in place of “is.”

It is fun to begin this story with that infamous line, especially because it is true, and unusually so. At the end of February, 2014, California and the rest of the drought-plagued West are finally getting some of the rain we so desperately need.

Road conditions are not the best. However, I have an appointment to meet with Epifanio that I am unwilling to give it up, even for bad weather, because it is now several months since our last meeting.

Driving myself somewhere and traveling alone feels like two long-lost privileges regained on that day, even though it’s only been about a year since I acquire chauffeurs and staff. I set off in the noontime light for our late afternoon meeting.

Listening to the weather reports all week, I know the light rain I drive through now is expected, especially near the coast where Epifanio lives at this time, to be a deluge beginning in the early evening. High winds, falling trees, local flooding and poor visibility are to accompany the increasing rainfall starting at about the time I would be planning to return to The Campus.

Knowing the weather and road conditions are likely to prohibit my driving back tonight, I am ridiculously energized about seeing him. I even go so far as to add to/bring my overnight gear: daily blood pressure and thyroid medicines (enough for four days; one never knows!), extra clothes, some food we can share, and my pillow and nightshirt are in my car: a Girl Scout is “always prepared”!

Be Prepared
image from: mottoupdate.blogspot.com

Maybe today? Maybe tonight? Maybe, if I stay the night and still can’t leave safely, we spend the day tomorrow, also?

It’s always about the “maybes” with Fanio.

I seem a tad insane, driving to see him on my own, given my role and public status,in horrible weather. I feel like a teenager on her way to a rendezvous. Of course, to be a tryst, the trystees both have to want to tryst.

“Ay, there’s the rub.”

Does he or doesn’t he?

“What dreams may come?”

Let’s find out!

On my drive there, it isn’t dark nor very stormy, yet, but it is raining and the rain clouds are darkening and gathering. The wind is picking up slightly by the time I arrive, but there are not yet any fallen branches.

Do any of you know how dangerous the trees are in California? I am officially going off on a rant about the defective trees around here.
Rant starts here.

I live in California after many years in New England states and growing up in the Midwest of the USA, with a recent detour in New Mexico. In all of these places, the weather is much worse. Hurricanes, ice storms, lightning and heavy snows can bring down trees, of course. Everyone knows that. But, rain alone? Seriously?

How in the world does rain bring down trees? Huge, old-growth trees, not just saplings, not just the odd one or two. Not always with flooding, not always with wind, either. Not in California. That is the reason I label these trees “defective.”

Every year when it rains here, and sometimes not even when the rain is heavy, there are people, cars (even moving ones!), houses, animals and roads that are wrecked, injured or murdered by randomly and unexpectedly, and worst of all, for no apparent reason, having trees fall and crush them. Downed trees cause loved ones, pets, property and access to roads to be lost daily during the “rainy season” or during any rainstorm, it seems to me.

At first, I am hearing blame rests on the “shallow roots” of the non-native eucalptus trees and rain-caused erosion. These could be the worst culprits. But, redwoods are tumbling at alarming rates, and I do not ever hear plausible explanations as to why they fall.

image from: http://www.independent.com

Whatever the causes, the truth is: California trees are untrustworthy. They look sturdy but they are not reliably going to stay upright. Believe me.

Be under trees at your own risk. Travel with great caution when rain is falling.
Rant over.

Remember my awful history and karma with cars? I am in over thirty automobile accidents in my life (to date), and for most of them, I am not even the driver. Some occur without my car’s even moving or without my being in the car at all. Yes, my own cars get into accidents without me in them (via parking attendants’ mishaps). A taxi gets into an accident with me in it. Once, when Abraham, Zephyr and I are visiting Thomas, Raisa and their brood, my brother backs out of his garage and runs into our car in his own driveway, even though our car is parked exactly where he tells us to park it.

I get into one of the worst accidents by sitting on the outside of a car, on top of the hood, when it is parked. This is the freak accident in which my leg gets permanently injured [Volume I, This Changes Everything,’s lesson for Clara about Re-sets revolves around that]. Mechanical failure, bad roads, inattentive drivers and inclement weather all contribute to my awful tally. Does it need stating, here, that I am justifiably wary of poor driving conditions and other drivers?

On the drive to Epifanio’s on this rainy afternoon, I am both hypervigilant while moving and timulting at every stop sign and red light. Which multiverse timeline is this? What is this evening holding for us?

If I spend the night (and with every mile, the likelihood of that necessity increases with the rainfall), do I sleep on the couch or with him? If I sleep under his roof for one night, what does it mean?

There are dozens of stop signs and traffic lights between The Campus and where Fanio lives.

Stop sign rain drops
image from: extras.timesheraldonline.com

I know. I’m obsessing.

How can I be almost 60 and the Chief Communicator of the PLANET and still obsessing about an almost nonexistent relationship? Oy.

Because I’m human. Because that’s how my life and mind work. Because internet. Whatever.

Do I mention that Fanio and I currently live over an hour’s drive apart, even in good weather? This trip takes almost two hours.

Since I am compulsively punctual and early is my M.O., I leave with almost four hours to go before our appointment time so that I can meditate and perhaps even take a nap in my car (not under a tree). I plan to enjoy some solitude, watching and listening to the rain, preparing myself before going in to see him.

Fortunately, the rain still isn’t heavy after my meditation and naptime. I arrive at his cabin in the redwoods (!!!). Almost as soon as I get inside, it starts to pour. I mean, deluge time.

Sheets of water are pouring off the roof and the tree branches are whipping around ominously (to my ears, anyway) as Fanio and I greet each other. We go sit in his living room area.

“You make it here all right, I take it?” Fanio asks.

“So far, so good. I don’t know about the return trip, though,” I say, testing the waters.

Fanio looks out the window, shaking his head. Well, I hope you brought whatever you need in case you’re staying here tonight.”

I look at him. Is this really going to be that easy? What do I say? Oh, right. The truth is always good.

“Actually, living in earthquake land, I always have a ‘go bag’ in the car. Medicine, clothes, toiletries, water, food, even a pillow. No P.J.s, though.”

Fanio nods. “Good. Got any popcorn?”

I laugh. Since I know he likes it and is going to ask for it, I do have popcorn.“That’s not exactly earthquake food, is it?”

“No, but I ran out,” he explains.

“I just so happen to have some,” I answer, smiling, “in the car, ready to pop.” Stick to the truth, always. “Someone asks for it recently, so I happen to have some. I can get it when it lets up a little, when I go get the rest of my stuff.”

Fanio leans back in his chair, smiling. “I’m glad you’re here. It’s fun to have a storm partner.”

“Is that what I am, now?” I ask, a bit flirtatiously. More waters-testing.

“Among other things,” Fanio says, amiably. “How are the other things going, anyway? I see your vids a lot. The Psi-Defiers are making more trouble, huh?”

“This year is the hardest so far. It takes them a while to get organized, I suppose, and for Fraggers to become Trenchers, for Trenchers to get trained and become Defiers. Now, they have many Defier squadrons. I don’t know why they just don’t see how great it is for Earth to join the Many Worlds Collective. Moran is super-busy, but doing an excellent job with the Psi-Warriors.”

“No deaths, yet?” Fanio asks.

“Luckily, just some Defiers are Qed–you know, Sequestered–and many are injured, but no fatalities, so far,” I tell him.

“We do need more trainers and teachers at The Campus, though. When are you finishing your Excellent Skills Program training? I wish you could teach right now.” I picture Fanio in several timelines living at The Campus starting some time this year, but I say nothing about that.

“I have a long way to go before anyone wants me to teach,” Fanio protests. “‘I am only an egg.'” We both smile. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land is a shared favorite.

“‘I grok you in fullness, ‘Water Brother.’ Share water with me now’?” I ask, formally. I’m glad he’s smiling.

“Seriously,” I say more ordinarily, I’m thirsty. May I get you some water while I get my own?”

water glass

“I haven’t shared water with you, ‘Water Sister,’ in many moons. Certainly. Let’s share water!” Fanio agrees.

I wonder if Fanio remembers that the “Water Brothers” ceremony includes having sex? He must. My stomach is doing somersaults.

Getting two glasses, filling them, returning to him and handing him one, I notice my hand is trembling. I quickly put the glass down. I focus on the new silence outside.

We raise our glasses, clink them, drink some water, then chant together. “‘I grok you in fullness,'” and we drink again. We sit in companionable silence, sipping, looking at each other.

What does he want? Should I ask? Not yet. Not feeling it.

I point outside. “Does it seem kind of quiet to you, now? Should I go to my car?”

Abruptly, the atmosphere gets crackly. Hairs rise on my arms. Lightning flashes outside, then: KA-BOOM. We both go look out the windows.

CRASH. Jumping back, we peer out cautiously toward the sound. Just a few feet from the house, a smallish redwood lays across the roadway, some of its needled branches landing on our cars.

image from: http://www.ruston.org

“Holy moley!” Fanio yells. “That is too close!”

“At least it’s just the car hoods and not the roofs!” My voice shakes. “In all my timults, there are no trees falling on this house, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I can never timult all the ‘lines.”

I look at Epifanio, who seems oddly at ease. “I’m scared,” I admit.

Fanio turns to me, surprised. “You are timulting about tonight? Why?”

“Well,” I’m stalling, waiting for truthful inspiration. Ah. “I don’t usually travel alone, so it’s a good habit for me to get into. I timult about going solo , especially in iffy weather and now, during the psi Wars.”

I’m already scared. Won’t get much more anxious than this, anyway. May as well tell him.

“Also,” I continue, turning to face him, away from the window, “because of us.”

Fanio takes a step back, peering at me intently. “‘Us’?”

I touch his arm gently, looking up into his brown eyes, deep with questions. “It appears I am spending the night, tonight and perhaps tomorrow as well, depending on how much it rains and how fast they clear the roads. Um. Well.” I search his eyes, not pathing him, but wishing I could.

“Where do you want me to put my pillow?” I point to my bag. That’s as plain as I want to make my query.

The lamps and other lights flicker, dilating his pupils. “We could lose power, too,” he reminds me. “I better get some candles and the flashlight ready.”

As he walks toward the kitchen, Fanio looks over his shoulder and says, not quite nonchalantly, “May as well go out now and grab your stuff and that popcorn. If you have an extra flashlight, grab that, too.”

I go out in the rain, which is now slightly lessened, and return to find Fanio rummaging through drawers to find matches.

With his back to me, he announces: “Popcorn and other food: kitchen. Your stuff: my bedroom.”

My heart definitely skips a few beats, hearing that. I guess we’re sharing a bed. Just like that. Haven’t even kissed, yet. Well, we’re grown-ups.

As I walk with my bag toward the bedroom, Fanio turns to me to lift his hand triumphantly, holding a box of matches like a trophy. “Victory all around!” I put my bag down on the bed, turn back to him and applaud.

He comes toward me, puts the candles and matches on the side table and holds out his arms. I walk into them.

Fanio gathers me in and kisses me, long and deeply.


In most timelines, here is what actually occurs, if we even meet that night.

spiderweb fog
I do drive to Fanio’s on a very stormy afternoon, believing more strongly the closer I get to his remote location that I may have to spend the night. There are thunder and lightning, flash flooding, downed trees occurring throughout the day. The night is supposed to be worse, with heavier rain predicted for already saturated areas, so even more flooding.

Our visit starts out similarly. Greetings, catching up, moving through the awkwardness of a reunion after time apart.

Small talk turns to more personal connecting as the winds pick up. We sit and talk, startling when branches whip against the window panes. The storm is making outside noises so loud that I ask Fanio to speak up.

My type of inherited hearing loss worsens slightly each year. It’s especially obvious when there is a lot of background noise and the speaker has a deep voice, as he does, and I can’t make out all of his words clearly. I am eager for digitally specific, personally adjustable hearing aids to be invented. 2016, I believe.

We do lose electric power in his little house. We get the flashlights ready and turn to candles at dusk.

After the tree falls in his driveway , we establish that I am spending the night. I start to ask him about where I should put my things when I stop and check in with my InKC [Inner Knowing Center].

Breathing deeply, watching the rain sheeting down the windows from the eaves, I am aware of Fanio’s rustling around looking for more candles and candle holders behind me. I concentrate on “going” to my InKC and “arrive” there with many questions.

The set-up for our much-anticipated (by me) long-awaited (also by me) unexpected (mostly to him) tryst is all there. I am tense, nervous, excited, intrigued.

What is of most benefit for all beings, here and beyond tonight, for my relationship with Epifanio Dang? I ask. How may I best facilitate whatever is best, here and after tonight?

I am still, aware of the movements of Epifanio as he sets up more candles around the room, while focusing my main attention on the information starting to flow into my consciousness. Almost like virtual ticker-tape or a fax received and moving through my mind, I sense but do not actually see scrolling text when I ask my InKC specific questions like this.

Epifanio Dang is not to become your romantic partner or lover. A change of that nature to your relationship is not part of his or many others’ best outcomes. This evening is best used to have detailed conversations about his art, writing, dancing, all upcoming projects in order to facilitate the best outcomes, support his contributions to Exchanges and assist with his communication among like-talented beings across the MWC.

So, there is no tryst. At least, no romantic or physically intimate encounter.

image from: http://www.zazzle.com

We talk, long into the night in the candlelight. Sweetly, intensely, getting caught up in his artistic ideas and plans, we click along with great enthusiasm, having shrugged off the restrictions of a schedule with our “slumber party” atmosphere, complete with popcorn. I follow the prescriptions my InKC provides.

As we interact, I notice that Fanio is more comfortable talking than listening. He doesn’t ask much about my day-to-day activities. He rarely asks about my personal experiences, although I imagine he is somewhat interested. He wants to receive but isn’t all that ready to concede the focus of our talk to me, my concerns, my “world.”

I test this theory a few times, bringing up a political or social concern, talking about my upcoming week’s meetings, but he always returns to his newest ideas. He explains about the off-planetary materials’ collaborative art project he’s coordinating and a novel way to choreograph with multiple species underwater or in zero that he and one of the dolphins are conconcting.

When we admit exhaustion and each retire to our respective sleeping areas, I check in with my emotions. I am disappointed only a little. Surprisingly, I am somewhat relieved. The complications of starting a personal relationship at this time, as the Chief Communicator, are actually more than I can handle.

From this and several other encounters, I have to admit that my life and Fanio’s, while connected and significantly overlapping at times, are quite separate and need to remain that way. As I meditate before sleeping, my timults of this night fade and plans for tomorrow and the rest of the week unfold instead.

I wish him well, ‘path him a “Sweet Dreams” which he answers aloud, “You, too.” Separately, we sleep.

Buy links for Volume I, This Changes Everything,

This Changes Everything cover

already are on and Pre-order links for Volume II will be available after April 15, with buy links for both Volumes after June 9 on http://www.sallyember.com

The Swan Song of my #Buddhist Mini Home #Retreat Sung a Bit Early

Some of you have been reading/following the posts about my #Buddhist mini home #retreat which began in mid-October, 2013, and was supposed to end March 1, to coincide with #Tibetan New Year (Losar) on March 2, 2014. However due to the schedules of Alameda County’s jury duty roster (which tapped me starting March 6, perhaps) and my teacher, Padma Drimed Norbu, or Lama Drimed, my close-of-retreat meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, February 26.

So, the Swan Song of my Retreat is being sung today. I plan to finish with a tsog (see first posting, in October, for detailed explanation of this ritual), since that is the way I began and I appreciate the function and symbolic bookends of that choice.

Here, to finish my posts about this experience, I give an honest report, comparing my plans with the actuals, now that it is closing.

image from http://www.jadcotime.com.au

TIME: I had planned to spend 4 – 6 hours/day on meditation, contemplation, study and practices for this retreat. I was unable to do this for most of the days for many reasons.

Self-publishing my first ebook, which uploaded for pre-orders Nov. 9 and for sales Dec. 19-20 while writing and then finishing Volume II while job-hunting and going to (unsuccessful, so far) interviews while doing extensive marketing and learning about all that MAY have something to do with the change in time allotments. I was a tad optimistic.

I did spend at least one and sometimes three hours or more, but never 4 – 6 hours on any day except the first two and this last day (the tsog takes at least 4 hours, from prep to clean up).

Except for a family visit for one week in December, I did not take any days off. Even during that week, I practiced every day, just not for more than one hour.

ACTIVITIES: For some parts of the contemplations of the Realms., I was supposed to enact them. I was also supposed to sit and chant a mantra. However, I could not enact most of these beings’ experiences in the Realms nor sit and chant the mantras.

When I tried to sit and chant the mantra (which was just one word), I would get immediately foggy, sleepy and unable to continue.

Furthermore, my lower back, injured and unhappy about sitting even on chairs, refused to allow me to sit in an upright position on the floor or a cushion, even on my bed, for more than 10 minutes without agony.


I utilized an alternative method that kept me awake: a walking meditation. I could complete the accumulations and meditations in that way. This did not quite evoke an enactment, but I was outside and observing with ongoing attempts to internalize each Realm’s beings’ experiences in my mind and body. Limited, but some success.

However, I can only walk for one hour or so on any given day due to a chronic injury to one leg, so my progress in these accumulations (to get to 100,000 for each of the Six Realms) took many days per Realm.

walking meditation
image from http://www.peerfit.com

I had plenty of time, so 9 – 11 days per Realm seemed all right, but somewhat disappointing. Although, from today’s perspective, I wonder why I was in any kind of rush?

I was tasked next with reading and contemplating the readings/teachings of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche’s original teachings, transcribed in 1989. That was an amazing experience because I knew him then and I knew many of the people who attended that retreat when it occurred, so I could picture his giving the teachings and the others gathered there, the translator’s comments and facial expressions very clearly. Many blessings and gratitude for them during this next phase of my retreat.

Chagdud Rinpoche
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and his tulku

At one point near the end of the booklet, though, I wondered if I had the wrong set of teachings, but I contacted Lama Drimed and he assured me it was correct; I had written the title down incorrectly in my original notes. Why did I fixate on that, I wonder?

Next, in tandem, I was to do some physical as well as meditative activities I can’t describe here. I can say, however, that I failed miserably (and not surprisingly) at doing the physical ones, and almost as miserably (and quite surprisingly) and the meditative ones. Need to discuss these with Lama D tomorrow, for sure.

I was also supposed to do some of the recommended sadhana (written/chanted) practices almost daily (my choice which of them to do, Lama D said) and tsogs on each full moon.

Epic Fails, both.

For reasons I still can’t explain, even to myself, I did not do the tsogs except for the first one and the one today, even though I purchased supplies for doing them.
After about day 4, I did not do the sadhana practices. Not at all. Not once. I do not like them, Sam I Am. I do not like Green Eggs and Ham.

Well, you get the picture. I just didn’t feel it.

Should I have done them, anyway? If I had been part of a group that was doing them daily, I would have done them. I would have been there and attended and participated. Left to myself, I did not feel moved to do them. So, I did not.

discipline lacking
Discipline Quote by Marie Chapian

Can’t understand my reluctance, but it was insurmountable, or I just gave in to it. Can’t say for sure how things would have been different if I had been more diligent, reliable, responsible.

I do have all these proud and arrogant parts that tell me and others stories about how disciplined and reliable I am, so it’s ironic and kind of sad that it turned out that I’m not so much of either, even though I also say that my practice is the most important part of my life.


Glad I blogged. In-reading my posts, which are a kind of journal, I can see I did get quite a lot out of many parts and was more devoted and disciplined than I give myself credit for, today. Not great, but good (in some parts).

Obsessing today about whether my lack of accomplishments in those or any of the activities may disqualify me from continuing or receiving the next teachings. Should have done something about that before, when I was overly indulgent, lazy or just unable, eh?

Well, if that happens, all right. Can’t go forward until I’m ready.

Lama Drimed will know.

One thing I am is honest.


May all beings benefit from my retreat, however it may be assessed. That I do wish, fervently.

A Writer’s Conference for the Independently Minded

Anyone ever been to or going this year to IndieCon? Experiences/recommendations? Comment here, please. Thanks.

Kobo Writing Life

In just a couple of days, IndieReCon will return to the web and Kobo Writing Life is delighted to be a sponsor! 
IndieReCon 2014, in its second year, is a free online writer’s conference dedicated to indie publishing. That’s right. It’s free. And you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to attend and benefit from all the great content. You can attend right from home in your jammies, if you like.

Last year with over 10,000 visitors, IndieReCon was awesome with chats and giveaways and days of helpful and pertinent information. 

This year will be even bigger and better!

To kick it off, keynote speakers, Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath, will host a 2-hour chat to talk about The Evolving Indie Industry and Standing out in the Pile and then entertain live questions.

You’ll also discover insider secrets from representatives from Kobo, Smashwords, Amazon and…

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Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists

Thanks to Mark Coker, Founder/CEO of #Smashwords, #indie #authors have lots of information in FREE slide shows and several webinars to help indie ebook authors succeed in self-publishing.

Mark provided excellent instructions, tips and support for my first ebook’s publication last fall, the sci-fi/romance which has been getting great reviews, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, including persuading me to engage in a “Pre-order” period prior to full sales release.

In his post (link to full post, below), Mark defines Pre-orders:
preorder defn

Mark gives great info on how to schedule a Pre-Order, here:
preorder timing

Furthermore, he details the benefits of Pre-Orders for Authors and Readers:
preorders 5 benefits 1

A great realist, Mark also provided great info as to what to expect, a “Reality Check”:
preorder reality check

So, how did my first experience with pre-orders go?
Not so well.

Let’s review the Tips Mark provided and my own experiences:

Tip One: Plan and implement AGGRESSIVE, multi-week marketing campaign
This was my first time as any kind of book marketer, but luckily (?), I was laid off in August, 2013, which gave me family support (thanks, Ellen Fleischmann, Merlyn Ember, Sarah Miranda, Lauri Stern and Carole Harris) to move my unpublished book forward into self-publication. I began immediately to learn, via Mark Coker’s and others’ Google Hangouts, free webinars, blog posts, groups’ posts and articles, all about the publication and marketing processes for indie authors.

I did it ALL, except pay for PR (no extra funds): I started a new website and blog; I became active on Goodreads and Twitter; I opened Pinterest Boards; I became more active on Facebook, both on my personal and Series pages; I became more active on LinkedIn; I joined Google+ and began to use it more. I joined many Groups/Communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as Goodreads. I engaged a professional cover artist (thanks, Willowraven!) and started tracking my KLOUT, SNAP and ALEXA scores.

I had OUTSTANDING results (I thought) in the first few months, bringing my KLOUT score from 31 to 61 by release day (12/19/13) and my website went from no ranking at all to being in the top 3.5 million via ALEXA. I gave up on Snap. My Twitter #FF went from 7 to over 1600; my blog gained almost 40 #FF (NOT my family, either!). I had almost 300 LIKES on my FB Series page and over 300 contacts personally there and on LinkedIn and Goodreads. 60 were #FF on Pinterest. Seemed good, to me.

I also worked hard networking on Wattpad, Goodreads, and Authonomy as well as the above groups and individuals’ websites to garner several very positive pre-sales day reviews which were posted on/into my front matter, my website, Goodreads and all other social media.

I joined Shelfari and BookLikes, Authors’ Database and other sites with author and then book pages. I created and updated my Author’s book page on Amazon (which doesn’t do Pre-orders, but I already had a nonfiction book authorship, so I could do this prior to uploading my ebook). I provided copy for and linked to postings of several author interviews on several websites and BlogTalkRadio’s IndieBooks show. I gave public readings and then videoed myself doing them and posted these on youtube, to start my Series’ Channel.

Using the Cover, I printed up 50 flyers (second time I spent money on this endeavor, first being the cover) and gave them out everywhere I went (which wasn’t many places, but I tried!).

This Changes Everything cover
cover and logo art by Willowraven

I talked it up everywhere I went, also. I sent out FB and GR reminders of the release date and planned an Author Q & A on Google Hangout and Goodreads for release day as an “EVENT,” which I extensively promoted, along with the pre-orders themselves, for weeks prior to sales date.

I believe I did everything I could to create a strong “Author Platform.” But, being a new author to sci-fi/romance and to ebooks, and an indie, self-published author in a very crowded field, the “splash” I was making, despite KLOUT’s encouraging stats, was not feeling large.

Social media icons
from http://www.bakerviewconsulting.com

Furthermore, I had no way to gauge the success of either my Pre-order marketing via the numbers of Pre-orders, because Smashwords, iBooks, KOBO and nook do not provide ANY kind of info as to the numbers of Pre-orders accumulating to authors, EVER. This is very frustrating and I wish this would change.

It is now two months since TCE’s release date, and I still have no figures, other than ranks on nook and KOBO, to tell me how many actual sales TCE has had.

Smashwords does provide “sales” numbers, but mixes “free” or coupon-use downloads with cash sales. This is mixing apples and oranges since my ebook is only free to reviewers and a select few others. Even with a cash total, this is a net profit figure, not a gross sales total: I have to do the math myself to estimate actual cash sales numbers, something else I wish would change.

iBooks sets up threshold before it puts out even a ranking that my ebook hasn’t met up to now (and neither the gate nor my sales number is known, which is frustrating; also needs to change).

As a regular Kindle (KDP), not Kindle Select, author, I did not have the option to do Pre-orders on Amazon, but at least I can check in on any day, any hour and get not only several different sales and author relative ranks, but go look at my actual sales figures online, including total sales, gross cash intake and net royalties. Yeah, Amazon!

Going solely by Amazon’s and Smashwords’ sales figures (the only ones I have), my Pre-Order and regular sales periods have not yet been huge successes, to say the least. I just got my first royalty checks, from Amazon (since Smashwords only pays quarterly and includes all the other vendors in one check). The total would not even pay for one tank of gas.

BUT, I am now a professional, paid ebook author, nonetheless! Woohoo!

My Recommendations: Every book sales site should provide real-time and accumulated stats to authors during Pre-orders as well as regular sales updates if not hourly, then daily, with no “qualifying” threshold to become eligible to see stats. AND, please do not mix free downloads with paid sales in the figures.

Tip Two: Mobilize fans
I tried to first gather fans (see above) and then mobilize them. However, as a first-time ebook author with no other fiction sales before this, my “fan base” is minimal even now, two months later, and nonexistent prior to Pre-orders. So, great tip, but I couldn’t use it for TCE.

I plan to use my growing fan base extensively for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, however, which goes into Pre-Orders in April 15-18 (because of policies and schedules not in Smashwords’ control, other ebook vendor sites do not open Pre-orders on the same days as each other) and on sale June 9, 2014.

Tip Three: Special pricing
I took Mark’s advice about pricing all the way. He suggested lower prices or free for Pre-orders, but strongly suggested NOT offering it free if the ebook has no others before it in the Series.

Mark also suggested, based on his extensive research, the “sweet spot” balancing sales with profits for ebooks, currently is set at $3.99.

So, I set TCE’s Pre-Order price at $1.99.
The sales price for TCE has been $3.99 and will stay that way until Volume II goes into Pre-orders, 4/15/14, at which point Volumes I and II will both be set at $1.99.

On Volume II’s release date, 6/9/14, TCMF&MLF will go up to $3.99 and Volume I will become FREE forever more, to all, as recommended for series authors.

When The Spanners Series ebooks start selling well and my fan base has grown even more, I will bump up Volume II’s price to $5.99 during Volume III’s Pre-order period, November – December, 2014, making This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change, Volume III’s Pre-order price $2.99.

Volume III’s sales price, starting in mid-December, 2014, will then probably be $5.99.

If sales aren’t great (YET), I’ll follow my previous pricing plan for a while longer for upcoming Volumes (the series has 10, total).

I do not believe the exact pricing made that much difference, but I really can’t tell. I also don’t know about the switch from Pre-order’s lower price to the higher sales price regarding sales impact. See Tip One: I don’t know, yet, about any sales figures, except on Smashwords, for Pre-orders, and those were not strong the first time, an understatement.

Tip Four: Use your other books to help
Wish I could. Will do for Volumes II onward. Good tip!

Tip Five: (MY TIP): Do it better each time
Yes, I plan to do it all better, as mentioned above.

1) I’m doing more about getting Beta readers for Volume II.

2) I’m turning reviewers for Volume I into reviewers for Volume II. I have more fans, I am involved in several networks of authors and others that help with promoting each others’ social media sites.

3) I now have 3 Book Trailers ( which I created myself, free, via Animoto) so that my youtube Spanners Series Channel GROWS. Each time I released a Book Trailer, my sales went UP on Amazon. Don’t know about the other sites, but my ranks did go up slightly.

4) I now have 50 more flyers and first, via KLOUT, free business cards via MOO, and when those ran out, got inexpensive ones via Vistaprint which I designed. They have my links, TCE book cover and Series logo on them. I give them out EVERYWHERE.

5) I joined and attend workshops with several local writers’ groups.

6) I comment on and re-blog/re-post others’ blog posts instead of always writing my own

7) I use StumbleUpon, Reddit, Quora, AllExperts.com and other sites to raise the visibility of my “brand” and drive traffic to my website (via WordPress.com). My website now has over 120 #FF, which I know is still small, but it’s a 300% increase since launch date 2 months ago!

8) I set up cross-posting and opened a Tumblr website that receives all posts from my WordPress blog, so my blog posts are re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Shelfari, BookLikes and Amazon.

9) I use JustUnfollow to keep my Twitter #FF useful, active and not ‘bots. Now up over 2300!

10) I continue to use author networks to share and collaborate for increasing each other’s visibility, rankings and comments. All of my numbers are fairly high and staying there on the book and author sites mostly due to these efforts.

So, with all the above, I am READY for the next Pre-order period much more than I was before. I hope this one ROCKS!

Links to TCE’s Reviews, Author Interviews, Book Trailers and more on http://www.sallyember.com

Link to Mark Coker’s full Pre-order Slide Show post here, which is well worth viewing: take notes! Please share, tweet, USE!

Thanks, Mark. Next time, I’m ALL OVER IT!

18 Tweets/3 photos inspired by the live speech of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, 2-23-14, Berkeley, CA

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the long-time spiritual leader and former political leader of Tibetans in Exile visited the United States for several weeks in February, including a meeting with President Obama (link to news report about that visit below this post) and right here in the East Bay, Berkeley, California, today (Sunday), 2/23/14. It was sold out, but streamed live. I watched.

Here are 18 Tweets and 3 photos as well as link for more information about the Tibetan Freedom movement, below, inspired by today’s talk.

1. The Tibetan children’s singing of the Tibetan National Anthem w/H. H. the #DalaiLama followed by USA’s is both sweet & bitterly sad, to me.

2. Right now in Berkeley with Congressional Rep. Barbara Lee [Berkeley, CA, USA 13th Congressional District]

HH DL in visor 2014
image taken from live stream by Sally Ember, Ed.D., with cellphone camera; from video by http://www.ustream.tv/channel/how-to-achieve-happiness

3. H. H. went to put on his visor because lights too bright.

4. After Rep. Barbara Lee of #Berkeley intros H. H. the #DalaiLama, they sit together in his chair; he tells her: Stay there while he talks!

HH DL and Barbara Lee 2014
image taken from live stream by Sally Ember, Ed.D., with cellphone camera; from video by http://www.ustream.tv/channel/how-to-achieve-happiness

5. #DalaiLama: “Climate change is a disaster and will get worse.” “Individuals need community to be happy.” “Oneness of humanity is essential.”

6. #DalaiLama: “Money only provides you physical comfort,..not inner happiness//Genuine happiness not depends on external//Be compassionate.”

7. #DalaiLama is talking about sincerity of heart and I keep hearing the song from “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “You’ve Gotta Be Sincere.”

8. #DalaiLama:”The 20th century was the century of bloodshed and violence//should have paid more attention to compassion, love, harmony, peace”

9. #DalaiLama:”The Leading Nation of the Free World….should make significant contributions to education//Build sense of oneness of humanity.”

10. #DalaiLama:”All religions emphasize love & compassion//all should teach these//help bring inner peace//become a compassionate human being.”

11. #DalaiLama:”All religious traditions use different methods & philosophies to reach the same aims, to be compassionate// religious harmony.

12. #DalaiLama:”A nation’s being secular means to be not at all negative towards any religions: respect all faiths and nonbelievers.”

13. #DalaiLama: (not a quote; summary) To challenge the religious or political elite requires us to go against those that exploit the people.

14. #DalaiLama:”Honesty and inner values bring immense benefit to individuals and society//That is how to achieve happiness in life.”

15. #DalaiLama Q: how to motivate children to be happier and do well in school? “Not only through words, but through actions.”

16. #DalaiLama Q”What happens to the soul or loved ones after death?” A Death means “change your old clothes for new clothes” change body only.

17. #DalaiLama More about how to die: “Depends on beliefs.” “Consider God or meditate on compassion, whichever you believe in. Visualize love.”

18. #DalaiLama Q=”What do you do all day? What do you like to do for fun.” A= Daily, I dedicate my body, speech & mind to the welfare of others.

A better photo from this year, looking about the way His Holiness did today, visor and all, but with a different assistant next to him.
HH Dalai Lama different speech 2014
image from Tibetan TV, then article.wn.com

Want to learn more about and perhaps contribute to Tibetan’s Freedom Movement? http://www.freetibet.org/donate/now

Want to learn more about His Holiness’ visit with President Barack Obama this past Thursday, 2/21/14?

How I Write a Book Review

All reviewers and potential reviewers: please READ and HEED! thanks.

Vampires, Crime and Angels...Eclectic Me

Writing a book review sounds simple, right? You read a book, then you write about whether you enjoyed it or not and what you did or didn’t enjoy about it.

Not for me.

I have a terrible memory. I can finish a book and not remember what I loved about it or if anything bothered me. So my solution is to take notes. Either on paper or by making notes and highlights on my Kindle. Either way is fine since I can go back to either of them and type up those notes when I’m finished the book. It’s usually in the typing up of the notes, in sequence, that I remember other things I might have liked or disliked about the book.

The note taking is the vital part. Without those notes, I can’t remember anything else. So I start with them and if anything else crops up I…

View original post 1,204 more words

“#ThisChangesEverything” #BookTrailer with #Multiverse Focus

This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., is sci-fi/romance/multiverse/paranormal/utopian speculative fiction for adults/new and young adults available in ebook format via Smashwords, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, nook, Flipkart, Diesel and other ebook retailers worldwide. Buy links, reviews, author interviews, excerpts and more:

Are YOU ready for the changes?

Watch Book Trailer here:

Or, view on and share the youtube link:

This Changes Everything cover
Cover art and logo by Willowraven.

How Having a #Buddhist #Spiritual #Teacher Changes Me

Some of you may remember I began an at-home, mini-#retreat to study and practice in the #Tibetan #Vajrayana #Nyingma tradition of preliminary practices for #T’hödgal—the #Rushan exercises—with meditation, contemplation and study, in October, 2013. I planned to end this sequence by Tibetan New Year, Losar, March 2, 2014. I have written a few posts about some of these experiences and my reactions to them (the ones I’m allowed to publicize).

My spiritual teacher’s schedule is very full and it is often difficult to arrange to see him. Luckily, I found out yesterday that I was able to receive an appointment to see him February 26, which means my retreat ends in a week.

Immediately upon having the date and time for our next meeting confirmed (called an “interview” in this tradition), I could feel the familiar internal reactions that signal other responses that will occur over the next week, in anticipation and preparation for our meeting and my receiving the next teachings. Physically, I feel internal tremors, “butterflies,” flutters of fear and excitement in my mid-section and heart. My heart rate speeds up, my breathing gets shallow and I have to remind myself to take deeper breaths.

Mentally, my mind starts racing around to gather up what I might want to ask, tell, find out in our meeting, which is always too short no matter how long it is. I keep a notebook and start writing down my questions and reactions to the practices during my retreat and always moreso in the days right before we meet. The time with my teacher is precious and I want to use every moment well.

Last night, I again have lucid dreams and more dreams that I remember. Lucid dreams are the kind that occur when I, as the dreamer, know I am dreaming during the dream, waking up to some extent while having the dream experiences and notice that I am awake. Remembered dreams are the ones that wake me up completely or that are with me when I first get up in the morning.

image from givnology.com

Sometimes I remember dreams from the night before at random moments during the day as well. In each of these dreams, lucid or remembered, I’m having some conversation or encounter with my teacher.

In my dreams, we are talking about my experiences in this retreat. Or, I am asking questions and he is teaching on some related subject. Or, we are walking, preparing food, washing vegetables or dishes, cleaning a room together.

I had a dream that we were swimming in the pond at our retreat center together at night. Somehow, we could both go underwater and still breathe, talk, and relate to each other for many minutes without difficulty, all the while the moon shone through the water, lighting us.

I dreamed we were in a hot tub together, naked but unembarrassed, talking about accomplishments and experiences in one type of meditation (often termed experiencing “naked awareness” in English translations).

Many times in the “ramp up” to a scheduled interview, I hear him talking to me in my sleep.His speaking voice wakes me up. He is instructing, explaining, teaching on a relevant topic but not one I have actually heard him talk about before in our actual encounters. Although it wakes me up, I try to go back into the dream to hear the rest of what he’s saying, but that never works. I lie there, recalling what he said and what I understand of it. When I have a pen and paper handy, I write down what I can remember.

Also in the days or weeks preceding a scheduled interview with my teacher, I am more keenly aware of my faults and flaws. I try to remember to bring compassion to my self-critique. I also notice any small progress signs I might have and note them down.

Chagdud Rinpoche
H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and his reincarnation

Our teacher (his teacher and, for a while, mine), His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, often told us that there are several sure signs of progress to watch for which he offered in a series of questions to ask ourselves:

“Am I more patient?”
“Am I less angry?”
“Am I more kind?”
“Does compassion arise spontaneously within me?”
“Am I more generous?”

If the answers to any or most of these questions is “Yes,” then we can be assured that our practice is having good effects. If not, we need to adjust/rectify: our practice, our motivation, our commitment, our understanding.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the spiritual teacher is said to hold the key to one’s heart. Opening the heart (or, in Tibetan terms, the heart/mind) is fundamental to becoming receptive to the spiritual practices and their impact on us, allowing us to change, inviting the methods to work within us without impediment.

A teacher may play many roles. The only limitations to the impact of a qualified teacher are in our own minds.

image from http://www.unfetteredmind.org

The story of how I “found” my spiritual teacher is a bit unusual in that I knew him before he became a Lama. However, I hadn’t seen him in ten years, only talked with him twice on the phone, before coming to accept teachings from him in 1999 and decide with him if he could be my teacher. He had told me on the phone that people who knew him “before” had had difficulty accepting him as a teacher and was warning me that it might not work for us, either.

I told him that I had already had many dreams in which he IS my teacher and I was confident it would work. Secretly, though, I was nervous and a bit doubtful, myself. I knew what he meant because the first person I had considered as my teacher was also someone I had known before and things were very difficult for both of us.

The day the retreat started that June day in 1999, we were all gathered in the shrine room (large space for meditation practice and teachings), waiting for him to arrive. I had no idea how the retreat would be structured, what went on, even where he would sit. There were thrones in the front of the room, but I had a hard time imagining that he would actually sit on one. Because Rinpoche then lived in Brazil, Rinpoche’s picture was framed and occupied the highest throne, in the center. There was one on the right side of it that was empty.

There was a curtain, a drapery wall, separating the shrine room from the porch eating area. It rippled and a man entered. At first, I didn’t recognize him as the man I had known. His hair was down past his waist and flowed as he moved. Last time I’d seen him, his hair was barely to his ears.

Even more different was the way he moved. More startling and unexpected was that I felt my heart burst open. My eyes filled with tears. In total silence and surprise, half bowed along with everyone else, I stood there staring at him. There was a glow around him that I could not actually see with my physical eyes but which I could perceive nonetheless. He emanated peace, confidence, warmth.

My heart was pounding and the tears increased as I watched him glide smoothly across the room carrying a single, long-stemmed rose in one hand.

He walked up to the throne with Rinpoche’s framed face on it. Gently and reverently, with immense love that I could feel from across the room, Lama Drimed placed the rose in front of the picture. Then, he gracefully stepped back several paces and did three full-body prostrations in front of that throne, offering respect and devotion to his teacher. I felt his devotion as pinpricks in my heart and my tears flowed.

long stem red rose

He finished his prostrations and walked over to the empty throne. Climbing up onto it, I could feel the rightness of it: it was his seat, his rightful place.

As soon as he sat down, the room of about thirty students erupted in motion: everyone began prostrating to him as he had done to Rinpoche’s picture. I stood there, trembling. Up until then, despite having attended several teachings, one retreat and several empowerments with other teachers, including Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, when I had done prostrations, I hadn’t felt anything. I did them out of respect, but without my heart engaged.

This time, as I bent to the floor to join the others in this ritual, tears fell on the carpet and my heart felt as if it would burst. The English translation for the words to the prayer we say as we do the prostrations echoed in my mind with new meaning:

“From now until I reach the heart of enlightenment, I take refuge in the Lama, who is the Three Jewels.”
Not “the” Lama: THIS Lama. I felt gnosis resonating in me as I prostrated.

My devotion and dedication awakened that afternoon as it had on no other day in this lifetime, yet it felt as if I were coming home. I had found my teacher, my spiritual guide and friend, the key to my heart/mind. Right there, that day.

Now, almost fifteen years later, I am even more devoted, dedicated, grateful and certain of my good fortune to have Lama Padma Drimed Norbu as my teacher. He scares me, he amuses me, he teaches and guides me. We argue, we talk, we laugh, we discuss. Lama Drimed as a Lama represents the embodiment of enlightenment. As a man, puts kale into his juicer and talks to me about my being a new sci-fi author. He makes me cry in gratitude, frustration, discouragement and awe.

I stretch, I learn, I grow. So does he.

In other times and now, in Tibet, India, Burma, Nepal, many Buddhist students have (had) to endure much hardship, danger, long journeys and infrequent opportunities to be with their teachers. Sometimes only once in a lifetime are they physically in the same places; being able to have an interview is even rarer.

snow travel
image from http://www.ornotmagazine.com

I am so lucky that he is alive and teaching, willing to have me as a student. The grace, good karma, great coincidence of our living in the same geographic area after many years of living other places allow me to see him next week just by driving my car about ninety minutes on good roads.

May all beings benefit. May all find their spiritual teachers and meet with them in this and every lifetime.

Thank you for being the key to my heart/mind, Lama Drimed. May you have a long, healthy, wonderful life filled with benefit and happiness.

Lama Drimed
Lama Padma Drimed Norbu

#Female #ebook #Authors: Getting Checked Out More at #Libraries

#Libraries’ Top Circulating Print #Books and #Ebooks in Jan, 2014: How Ebooks are Leveling the #Gender Playing Field

library facade

TOTAL (PRINT) = 22:8, male #authors to female authors (about 3:1)

Female Authors in both print nonfiction and print fiction are outnumbered by male authors almost 3:1. In 2014. This does not bode well for 2014.

How about these figures: Fiction = 15:0. That is the ratio of already published and known authors on the Print Fiction list to unknown/previously unpublished authors.
Fifteen to NONE.

ZERO new authors are among the top circulating Print Fiction in libraries (nationwide, USA) for the first month of 2014. (Link and full list, below, from Library Journal.)

We can’t view a comparable list of ebooks because 1) not all publishers or authors of ebooks provide them to libraries and 2) not all ebooks available are purchased by libraries.

I realize the same could be said for print books, particularly #2, but the vast majority of print books published by major publishers ARE purchased by libraries, whereas there is no such comparable circumstance for the mostly independently published/uploaded ebooks regarding ebooks’ presence in library collections.

Just for thinking purposes, look at what authors’ ebooks are on the “front page” of the lists of 2013’s top circulating e-books that are available to borrow from the Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s public libraries (six or seven, total, on each “page”):
FICTION (EBOOKS) = Kate Atkinson, Sophie Kinsella, Eleanor Cattin, Robert Galbraith and J.K. Rowling, Linwood Barclay, Herman Koch, Dan Brown. 4:3
NONFICTION (EBOOKS) = Kristine Barnett, Kelly Oxford, Shelley Sandberg, Sonali Deraniyagala, Reza Aslan, Michael Moss. 2:4
TOTAL (EBOOKS) = 6:7, males to females.


For all of 2013, the authors who wrote the top 30 ebooks (still in Toronto) are:
Mixed, FICTION and NONFICTION (EBOOKS) = 21:9 = 7:3, males to females


You might think: Oh, that is just in Canada, or just Toronto. All right.

Here are Sacramento, California’s figures for 2013, Top 20 physical (print), which are all Fiction, and Top 20 Virtual (ebooks and audiobooks), which are mixed Fiction and Nonfiction, most-circulated titles.
FICTION (PRINT) = 12:10 (three have joint authors), = 6:5
MIXED FICTION/NONFICTION (EBOOKS & AUDIOBOOKS) = 12:10 (two have joint authors) = 6:5
a TIE!

What about the people in “middle America”? Let’s check Marion County, Indiana, which published a list of its 15 most popular (top circulation) ebooks for 2013.
FICTION (EBOOKS): 8:7, male to female authors.
Almost a tie!

Let’s check the New York (City) Public Library, or NYPL top 10 circulating print books’ authors for 2013.
TOTAL (PRINT): 10:11, males to females

I requested the top ebooks from NYPL; waiting for that.


My tentative conclusions are these:
1) ebooks are “leveling” the playing field for female authors since, for the first time in publishing history, authors do not have to wait for the largesse or permission from publishers to get our books into the hands of readers, and traditional publishing has always favored males (to date).
2) once more ebooks are available in libraries (still to come), even more ebooks authored by women will be in the hands of readers.
3) since public library patrons are skewed, economically, to the less affluent among us, ebooks and particularly female authored ebooks may not get into everyone’s hands until ebook tech (ereaders) will be borrowable.
4) Because of Indy publications for both print and ebook formats, more female authors are getting published and therefore getting purchased by libraries and into the hands of readers.
5) Don’t have exact numbers, but general stats show that there are more females than males borrowing both print and ebooks from USA libraries. If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say the ratio of readers in the entire USA, using libraries or not, is about 1:2 or 1:3, males to females.

More female than male authors are going to be on best-seller and top circulating lists of both print and ebooks in future months and years.

Meanwhile, please donate money, give your used print books and sponsor the purchase of ebooks for your local public libraries so that ALL authors’ work becomes available to more readers! Thanks!

donate to library


1 Sycamore Row. John Grisham.
2 The Goldfinch. Donna Tartt.
3 Never Go Back. Lee Child.
4 Gone. James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge.
5 Identical. Scott Turow.
6 Takedown Twenty. Janet Evanovich.
7 Doctor Sleep. Stephen King.
8 W Is for Wasted. Sue Grafton.
9 The Longest Ride. Nicholas Sparks.
10 Storm Front. John Sandford.
11 And the Mountains Echoed. Khaled Hosseini.
12 Doing Hard Time. Stuart Woods.
13 The Cuckoo’s Calling. Robert Galbraith.
14 The Valley of Amazement. Amy Tan.
15 The Gods of Guilt. Michael Connelly.

1 David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Malcolm Gladwell.
2 Killing Jesus: A History. Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard.
3 I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb.
4 Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Reza Aslan.
5 Still Foolin’ ’Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Billy Crystal.
6 Johnny Carson. Henry Bushkin.
7 Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Piper Kerman.
8 The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. Naoki Higashida.
9 The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Doris Kearns Goodwin.
10 Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics. Charles Krauthammer.
11 One Summer: America, 1927. Bill Bryson.
12 Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead. Sheryl Sandberg.
13 My Story. Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart.
14 Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers. David Perlmutter & Kristin Loberg.
15 This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital. Mark Leibovich.

“A Page for a Purpose”: #Children’s #Books’ #Illustrations Collaboration for #Charity

“A Page for a Purpose”: #Children’s Books’ #Illustrations Collaboration for #Charity
Larry McGraw, children’s book author, has a new project going. #Illustrators for children’s books, pay attention; others, please share!

from Larry McGraw: “I propose something new. Instead of asking people to illustrate a whole book, I’m going to ask for one page. I’m going to call this endeavor ‘A Page for a Purpose’ (mainly because ‘Coloring for a Cause’ was already taken) and ANYONE can be a part of it.

“If you are interested or you know someone who might be interested just let me know. Artistic talent is not 100% necessary but it would be nice if you could at least draw a decent stick figure (Hence why I WRITE the books).

Here are the full project explanation and website link:

Here is Larry’s website link:

First posted by Larry on January 9, 2014. I don’t know the project’s end date. Contact Larry for details. Contact: laurance.mcgraw5@gmail.com

Larry also has a Facebook posting/page:

#Smashwords vs. #Amazon for #Indie #Authors #ebook #epub: Pros and Cons

Roger Gerald Scott, co-founder of the “Authors Helping Authors” site, posted an article detailing his views on the pros and cons of Smashwords vs. Amazon for Indie Authors considering ebook publishing. I left the following lengthy comment with my differing views, below,but it was not approved. The moderators believed it was too negative and called it derogatory, which certainly were not my intentions. They also claim I do not have the authority to link to his article, which mystifies me, since anyone can link to anything, any time. However, the moderator sent me several lengthy emails endeavoring to explain her/their position, for which I am grateful, but also saying they would “block” my links.

So, if the link does work, just copy and paste it into your own browser. I think Roger’s article was confusing and misleading, so I am continuing to post my corrections, explanations and comments, here, not to put him down but to inform any other new self-pub authors.

First, I link to his article, then post my comments here. Let me know what you think!



I have two corrections to the above article, which is very helpful and factual, otherwise. As an author who has published her ebook for the first time on first Smashwords and then, immediately on Amazon, I am uniquely qualified to speak to the “differences” and “similarities.”

I prefer to start with Smashwords and then upload to Amazon. Here are my corrections/clarifications to Roger’s article and the reasons for my preference, below.

1) First correction/clarification: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is not the same as Kindle Select on Amazon. The first is their regular, free, UNRESTRICTED upload available to any author, any time, regardless of wherever else this ebook appears/is distributed. There is no problem having my ebook distributed on and via Smashwords AND available on Amazon via KDP, which is the route I chose.

Kindle Select, on the other hand, DOES have the restricted distribution rules listed in the above article (which is the main reason I did not use it).

2) Second correction: I did all my own formatting. While it was tedious, it was NOT difficult. I literally went through the Smashwords guide page by page and did it all myself. My ebook (which is sci-fi, 323 pages or thereabouts) went through the Smashwords “meatgrinder” with no problems, first time through. I don’t know why so many people have trouble; they must not follow the directions.

If an author really can’t follow directions (which begs the question how this person can be an author), there are people Smashwords keeps a list of and provides the list to anyone who asks for it who will format your ebook for you.

***HOWEVER, some of the formatters advertising who are NOT on Smashwords’ approved list are NOT worth hiring. Buyer beware. Many scams.

And, none of the formatters is an editor/proofreader. Still have to do that/get that done separately.


3) Furthermore, since Smashwords’ formatting requirements are the most stringent, once my ebook was ready for SW, it is was easily uploaded to Amazon and went through without issue.

Further benefits to using Smashwords:

a) Smashwords provides every format free to the author after the ebook is accepted. I downloaded them all and can send them out via email any time I want. During my pre-order period, this is the way my ebook got to reviewers. All formats means including Kindle’s .mobi, so I had Kindle versions before I uploaded to Amazon.

b) Once I had all the formats provided by Smashwords, I am able to provide coupons at any discount I want, up to and including free, to any individuals I choose, any time, for a period I can select in advance and then also change. I can have more than one coupon active at the same time.

c) This means my pricing is steady across all formats and distribution sites, which forces Amazon to keep my pricing at the price I chose, but that I can provide my ebook free or at a discount any time to anyone via Smashwords and Amazon is none the wiser. The stated price is still the same as on Amazon and elsewhere.

d) Smashwords, like Amazon, provides many author features including one place for reviews, an author page, and “extras.” Nook, Kobo, iBooks and other sites do not have these options. Once I had materials for one site it was easy to upload them to the other, although, for some weird reason, Amazon uses a third party site, Shelfari, for uploading most of the extras.

e) Mark Coker, the owner/founder of Smashwords, provides many FREE webinars, data, fora and help via his staff and himself, that are critically important and useful, especially to new authors of ebooks and new indie authors of any format. I highly recommend that every author view all of these webinars prior to publishing (at least 5 months prior is best) so you can market your ebooks well and use all features available.

f) Smashwords provides a URL with the author’s name in it AT NO CHARGE rather than Amazon’s silly numbering system.

I dislike both Amazon’s and Smashwords’ renumbering the books for the book pages’ URLs; it’s cumbersome to have 2 ID numbers for the same book and completely unnecessary.

Overall, I recommend doing ebook publishing first via Smashwords so that the author can have a pre-order period and build up sales (which all “count” on release day, helping boost rankings) and then on or after release on Smashwords, publish via Amazon KDP (not Kindle Select). This covers ALL the bases very well for indie authors.

I hope this helps everyone. Best to you all. Links below.

Sally Ember, Ed.D., with author pages on:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a1002726320/Sally-Ember-Ed-D-/books
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyEmber

and book pages:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 (USA only)
and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8?tag=viewbookat0e-20 (for all countries)
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-changes-everything-sally-ember-edd/1117444256?ean=2940045417921
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-changes-everything-3
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/this-changes-everything/id746840776?mt=11&ls=1
Also on Diesel, Flipkart, Oyster and several others via Smashwords agreements.

This Changes Everything cover
cover art by Willowraven.

My website: http://www.sallyember.com Visit! Welcome! Comment!

Because of Hormesis: When Heartache Doesn’t Wreck You, It Makes You Stronger

Hormesis occurs when a bit of a harmful substance or a life or physical stressor comes into our experience/body in just the right dose or the right intensity. This exposure stimulates our body or spirit to fight back, to get stronger, better, healthier and, therefore, better prepared for any future stronger/larger doses.

Also posted on: http://connectandpost.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/guest-post-because-of-hormesis-when-heartache-doesnt-wreck-you-it-makes-you-stronger/


How do We Find Our Level?
Most people understand this concept if we exercise with weights, because hormesis explains the benefit of doing the right number of reps (repetitions) with each machine or free weight. Athletic coaches and trainers urge us on, but only to the point of increasing returns. As soon as we get to accruing diminishing returns, we are to stop. How much fatigue, weakness, pain, burning, failure are “too much”?

This is exactly what we need to learn about ourselves in order to avoid hurting ourselves during a workout (or relationship). Water flows downhill; without a hill, it’s stagnant. With rolling hills, meaning, many different experiences, we/water finds its level at every resting place.


Feast or Famine?
Hormesis also governs the benefits of fasting or reductions in calories. Again, only to the point of increasing returns: relieving our digestion for a period of time, cleaning out our systems, creating a new “set point” for our metabolism and weight are all beneficial, but must occur through some stress on our body by reducing our intake of food.

It’s all right to be isolated (or hungry) for a specified time; the deprivation we experience increases our self-reliance, our independence, our ability to tune in and understand ourselves. We can actually feel pain (enormous pain, sometimes) and still be in the benefit “zone,” but if we continue to be damaged for too long, we risk incurring long-term, even irreparable harm (muscle deterioration, mental fuzziness, weakness, anemia, distorted self-esteem, inappropriate detachment, odd cravings, bizarre relationship choices, etc.).

intermittent fasting

How do We Know When to Jump Out of the Pot?
Most importantly for our understand of ourselves, hormesis shows us that we are not wrong to overcompensate for challenges because that stretching and pushing ourselves beyond our “comfort zone” help us get tougher, smarter, stronger, more confident, more capable for the next encounter with that circumstance. However, if we continually seek or exist in toxic situations, we risk grave harm, even death.

The worst is a situation, an “exposure” to a “toxin” that is gradually getting higher. This is quite dangerous and terrible. Like the frog put into cold water in a pot whose water is slowly heated to boiling, we, too, won’t jump out or even realize we should remove ourselves from the exposure until it’s too late: we get cooked.

We have to know when to exert the effort, when to jump, to jump while we still can. Are you a “glutton for punishment” or an appropriate risk-taker?


What Risks are “Worth” the Experience?
How much hormesis stimulation (how large a toxic dose) is just right and how much is too much? The key here is that hormesis is a favorable response to low exposures of some toxin or stressor. We are not set up to manage moderate or high exposures, especially over prolonged periods of time, without being damaged. With low doses of the potentially harmful substance, most can get stronger; with high doses, almost all die.

A few bad experiences or relationships are manageable. We learn, we grow, we get stronger from these. However, frequently or chronically occurring destructive circumstances ruin us. We do not have unlimited capacities: we do contract an illness, like cancer; we do get depressed, sometimes to the point of suicide; we do become unable to cope.

mended heart

How do We know When It’s Too Much?
Here is the test. If our response to an “attack” is to become weaker or paralyzed (physically or metaphorically), hormesis is not in effect: we are just being knocked out. When we become exposed again, we will probably not survive intact.

If, when we are physically or emotionally stimulated by low doses of some toxic substance (or person), we develop greater immunity to future exposures, hormesis is working just fine.

HeartBreak Oscar Wilde

How is YOUR heart doing?

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time, favoring the #indie authors! Full explanation and more data in article linked, below.

A few more excerpts, paraphrased for Twitter, just to whet your appetite!

86% of top 2,500 genre fiction bestsellers + 92% of Top-100 best-selling books in overall Amazon store are e-books!

Indie authors outnumber trad pub authors in every earnings bracket but one. Even extreme outliers do better w/self-pub.

Self-pub authors make 50% more profit than trad pub, even though indie books represent only half of the gross sales revenue.

“Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published.”

“When given a choice, readers will buy books other than those vetted by [the New York Times]. The Kindle bestseller lists prove this.”

image from http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com

Advice self-pub author, Hugh Howey (article author), gave publishers three years ago, when the Big 5 were still the Big 6. Did they follow it? What do YOU think? (From the same article):

“Publishers should stop trying to convince themselves and others that they’re relevant, and start actually being relevant. Here’s how:
1. Offer much better royalties to authors.
2. Release titles faster. It can take 18 months after a book is turned in to be published. I can do it myself in a week.
3. Use up-to-date accounting methods that are trackable by the author, and pay royalties monthly.
4. Lower ebook prices.
5. Stop futilely fighting piracy. Hint: all such fighting is futile. Piracy can only be made redundant with cost and convenience.
6. Start marketing effectively. Ads and catalog copy aren’t enough. Neither is your imprint’s Twitter feed. Especially if your author has more Twitter followers than you do.”

Link to article I’m referencing, here:

Are you an author (either or both trad and indie/self-pub)? DO THIS!
“The authorearnings.com website is now up and running again. Even if you’ve read the info here, I encourage everyone to visit http://authorearnings.com and take the Author Survey and sign the Petition.”

Thanks, Joe Konrath and Hugh Howey!

If you’d just like to read Hugh’s report without the Q & A and conversation with Joe (less entertaining, but shorter), here is the link:


Top 7 Regrets of Less Successful Authors

Happy to say I have none of these regrets, but in case other @newauthors might avoid them, SHARE and READ!

Savvy Writers & e-Books online


If I would have known then, what I know now” or “why didn’t I listen to …” and yes there might be much to regret.  However, it is never too late and with your next book there is another chance to do the publishing and book marketing part much better planned and in time for the book launch. Authors are always “before the next book” so why not start today writing your prequels and use the content of your older books manuscript to create lots of short stories or blog posts, guest blogs or free chapters – in order to show off your writing and at the same time announce your next bestseller.
These Are the Regrets I Often Hear or Read from Writers:

  • started too late with Social Networking 
  • did not learn about publishing and marketing
  • did not evaluate the market for my book

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Please Vote: “Get More Exposure Book Trailer Competition” 2014!

Please, Please reblog and share in any way you are able!

Vote for #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING, Volume I in #THESPANNERSERIES, new #Booktrailer in the Get More Exposure Book Trailer Competition. The winner gets exposure on Twitter & Facebook (see below for details).

Voting closes March 23, 2014.

The Winner of the Get More Exposure Book Trailer Competition will reach a potential audience of 20,000 readers on Facebook, and 10,000 people on Twitter with their winning trailer!

You may have to sign in to vote, but it’s free. Scroll down the entries to find the trailer for This Changes Everything if you want to watch it, first. I’ve also embedded it here so you can watch it right now!

If you’ve already seen it or you already know you want to vote for it to support ME, Sally Ember, the author, you may vote as soon as you get to the page linked below. THANK YOU, and thanks to HMC, whose Official page of Australian author, Hayley M. Clearihan, is running the competition.


High Praise from Rebecca T for “#ThisChangesEverything”!

Here are some excerpts from the latest glowing #review, written by Rebecca T, “The Literary Connoisseur,” for Sally Ember’s original, sci-fi, romance, paranormal, multiverse, utopian ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series.

“If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, this book was written for you!”

“If there’s one thing I can say for sure about Sally Ember’s writing, it’s that she knows what she’s writing about. She’s very, very intelligent, and so is her story. (With occasional witty humor that had me chuckling.)”

“Clara’s love life is not easy whatsoever, being the CC and all, but even though it killed me when she would pour out her emotions and heartbreak, that was my favorite part of the book. It gave a human touch to a book about aliens!”


Link to full review here: http://theliteraryconnoisseur.blogspot.com/2014/02/this-changes-everything-by-sally-ember.html

All buy links, more reviews, Pinterest Board and other links: http://www.sallyember.com Look right and scroll! Available for $3.99 wherever ebooks are sold. Share!

Author Interview on Tiffany Haisten’s TippyTree Blog

Tiffany Haisten, author of the Red is the Color… children’s book, posts on her blog, “Tippy Tree.” On February 6, she published an Author Interview with me. Check it out!



This Changes Everything has a new book trailer, focusing on the multiverse, star-crossed romance between Clara Branon and Epifanio Dang. Check it out!

TCE Romance Trailer


4 Stars from “April” for “This Changes Everything” on Amazon and elsewhere

“April,” an author who prefers to remain anonymous when posting online, reviewed This Changes Everything (The Spanners Series), calling it “An Intelligent, Funny, Multi-Generational, Multi-Timeline, Multi-Story.” Here is her review:

“Author, Dr. Sally Ember, Ed.D., has utilized every book formatting element recommended by successful authors. She includes: an attractive cover [cover art by Willowraven], a detailed TOC, and front flap reviewers’ remarks.


This Changes Everything is a science-fiction story about a woman who is chosen to be the main contact for ‘The Many Worlds Collective’ (MWC). The aliens she meets will provide information to her to give to Earthers in order for Earthers to become members of the MWC.

“Ember does grab my attention in the first pages with the opening scene where Clara, the protagonist, invites aliens, who have come into her home, to a late night tea.

“While I want to know more, as the story unfolds into a grand multi-story, multi-senses, multi-timeline story within a story, I get exhausted.

“As I age, I cannot read long fiction stories in one sitting, I have to read them in chunks. When I was younger, I could get lost in worlds created by others.

“Ember has a seamless writing style that flows as she goes from event to event, experience to experience, and interaction to interaction. She uses energetic, positive, imaginative, intelligent language and humor. The aliens are ‘cute,’ telepathic and funny.

“The main story is broken up by real time events and diary entries by the author covering the not just the author’s life but all of historic time.

“Ember introduces the concept of ‘simultaneous time.’ For lovers of time travel stories you will enjoy this multi-universe present time.

“I love learning new things, the author injects biological, psychological and Buddhism, technological and historical facts into the story. There is even a reference to marginalia and a discussion of the Sandwich Generation.

“Then there are the Spanners, who exist as one giant dysfunctional family. Spanners live in the best and worst of years of the modern era.

“Ember’s stories are like a brain dump of all her education, knowledge, experiences, philosophies, hopes and dreams, and observations.

“Ember is the Alice Walker of the Spanner Generation.”

Thank you, April! Glad you enjoyed TCE!

This ebook is available on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and nook for $3.99. Buy links, more information and review links on http://www.sallyember.com

“Complex, Creative, and Compelling – 4 Stars” from B.C. Brown for “This Changes Everything”!

B.C. Brown’s review of This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., is quite positive! Here are some quotes from and a link to the full review, below. Thanks, B.C.!

“Sally Ember has created a humorous science-fiction tale with This Changes Everything. Initially woven loosely, the style is a little confusing but seems to be what the writer had in mind to introduce the fact that everything in life, and the story, happens simultaneously and it rarely makes sense from the onset. The point of time being more expansive and less linear is clearly defined by this opening.”

This Changes Everything has great wit. Its writing is simple and dignified with complex ideas and theorizes on politics, science, religion, and socio-economics. While it may not be the next ‘Oprah’s Book Club’ nominee, the book certainly encompasses a wide topical range and has something for any audience. It will resonate well with thinkers.”

“4 stars = Quite Enjoyable”…”This book was solidly in the 4-star range; a recommended read.”

Link to full review: http://bcbrownbooks.blogspot.com/2014/02/review-this-changes-everything-by-sally.html

All buy links for this sci-fi ebook are on http://www.sallyember.com. Look to the right and scroll down! Spread the word!


15 Ways I PERSONALLY #Conserve #Water and You MUST, Too!

Here are the 15 EASY ways I PERSONALLY conserve water, since I usually do, anyway, and I now live in the drought-stricken state of California. PLEASE do this.

IMPORTANT: Most of these personal acts DO NOT MATTER if you eat a lot of meat, corn or soy, or foods that contain them (which are MOST if you eat processed foods/fast food). Really. Agriculture uses more than 95% of California’s water, and most of THAT goes to raising animals, corn and soy for animal and human food.

Check out this article (link, below). Here are some key facts:
“California families are concerned and ready to take action. Responsible citizens will be taking shorter showers, shutting off the water while brushing their teeth, and only washing clothes with a full load. But what most people don’t know is the much greater impact of their diet….

“Most people shower every day an average of about seven minutes of hot water with the showerhead flowing out about two gallons of water a minute. The Water Education Foundation calculates that every pound of California beef requires about 2,464 gallons of water to produce. You would save more water just by replacing a pound of beef with plant foods than you would by not showering for six months!…

“It may be more abstract than just turning off the tap, but the foods we choose impact our water supply. Eating more veggies, fruits and grains, and reducing or eliminating our consumption of meat, milk, and eggs will help your family decrease their environmental footprint, get healthy, help animals, and preserve enough fresh water for generations of Californians to come.”


HOWEVER: Personal conversation DOES matter and we should all have better habits and tend to our water use better.

drop of water conserving

1. Use a dishwasher or washing machine only when it is full, unless your appliance has settings for lower water/smaller loads. Then, make sure you set it correctly.

2. Use a cup (not filled) of water to dip your toothbrush in for wetting, rinsing while you brush your teeth. Use the water to rise your mouth. If you still need to rinse your mouth after that, just use one swallow’s worth of water for the final rinse. DO NOT RUN WATER WHILE BRUSHING TEETH, please. Teach your children this.

3. If you have pets and plants, use the leftover water from watering plants to fill pet water bowls and vice-versa. None of these beings will mind one bit.

4. If your water heater is slow to heat your shower or tub to desired temperature, put a dishpan or large bucket under the flow to catch the colder water. Use this water to water plants or give to pets, or, if you wash dishes by hand, to soak dishes.

5. Be vigilant about leaks and drips and do not allow any to continue. Get help or DIY, but end these water-wasters right away.

6. If you must wash your car (like, it’s covered in mud or blood), patronize a car wash that advertises that it uses recycled water. Otherwise, keep your windshield and headlights clean and drive a dirty car. It is not a big deal, compared to RUNNING OUT OF CLEAN WATER. Really.

7. Check recipes and use common sense: only use the amount of water for cooking that the item(s) require, and no more.

8. Get a compost bucket with a lid and stop using your garbage disposal except when the drain is clogged. Then, run minimally, just to clear the clog.

9. Water conserving shower-taking (especially in public places, to be a role model): get wet quickly, all over; lather up body and hair with water turned OFF or trickling, if needed; rinse off, all at once; repeat if needed (like, for hair).


10. Use shower water only for getting clean/rinsed. Do not stand under the shower to “warm up.” Do not stand by and be silent when others do this. Water is not for your or their personal luxury or comfort. WATER IS ALL OF OURS.

11. Bath-takers: STOP TAKING BATHS. Unless you can’t stand up or are too young to shower, stop it. It’s self-indulgent and wasteful. Baths use five times the water that showers do (or more, if you keep “topping it up” to keep it hot). WE CANNOT BATHE in a full tub (70 GALLONS of water!!) in a drought. Really. Stop it. if you must immerse yourself occasionally, join a gym or go where they have an already-filled hot tub. Enjoy.

12. If you use ice cubes in a drink or pitcher and have some leftover but unwanted, let them melt and then water plants or animals with the melted ice.

13. Store water leftover from steaming vegetables or cooking eggs to begin your next soup. Can be frozen and thawed for this purpose.

14. Thaw food in the refrigerator; do not use running water to thaw food. Plan ahead.

15. Get a garbage pail with a lid and put it next to each toilet. Put all but the most soiled toilet paper in the pail. Do not flush the toilet until it is necessary (without toilet paper and only pee: NOT NECESSARY!). If you have children or many guests, put up a sign to this effect. Or, be cuter: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” “Please put wet toilet paper in the pail. If it’s ‘heavy,’ put it in the toilet.”


Want more ideas, especially for home-owners and landlords/ladies with land or pools and businesses? See this list, below.



The three treasures and two promises

The Three Treasures
I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love
I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness

The Two Promises

I vow to develop my compassion in order to protect the lives of people, animals, and plants.
I vow to develop understanding in order to live peaceably with people, animals, and plants.

Meditation with Daniel

This is a version of Buddhist vows created by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. I really like this version. It’s described in a way that anyone could easily understand.


The Three Treasures
I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love
I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness


The Two Promises

I vow to develop my compassion in order to protect the lives of people, animals, and plants.
I vow to develop understanding in order to live peaceably with people, animals, and plants.

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All doctors, doctors-in-training, and anyone who DEALS with doctors: READ and SHARE, please! Written (and accomplished) by one of my Buddhist friends who is now a hospice nurse and used to be a nurse-midwife for births. Thank you, Candy, for all you do and have done for the newly arrived and about-to depart.


There are midwives for birth and for death. They are people who lovingly accompany those in transitionwatching over and supporting them as they do the work of giving birth or passing from this life.  Sometimes that means being a discerning and strong protectorlike a Mama bear…

mother bearHe looked to be about twenty years old but introduced himself as a doctor when he briskly walked through her door, clutching a chart under his arm. We nodded as he walked over and stood by my friend’s bedside.

“Hello Carly,” he said.

“Uh, that’s not her name.”

“Ahem,” he replied, clearing his throat, looking puzzled as he shuffled the sheaf of papers in his hand. He then spoke in a very loud voice to my friend who was dying and unresponsive. “So, how are you doing? Fine? Good. Very good,” he said in one rushed breath.

I glared at him and moved…

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12 Tips for Your Professional Amazon Author Page

#Amazon #Authors: Get your Author’s page in shape!

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

kdp-select-controveryOnce your book goes live on Amazon you are eligible for an Amazon Author Central Account – and your very own web page on Amazon! Best of all: There is no advertising on your site, up to seven images (of you, your book(s), an “about the author” article and your book’s description. 

Use your Author Central page to provide more information for your readers: upcoming events, a complete listing of your books, more images, and videos, your book trailer and even excerpts from your blog.

Not only get your Amazon website a very high page rank, Author Central tools are very effective in marketing your books and promoting yourself as an author.

How to Set Up Your Amazon Author Central Account
Amazon explains: once published, expect to receive an email from Kindle Direct Publishing announcing the news that your book is available for purchase.  They are inviting you…

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