#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?