How To Grab That Coveted Online Audience

Great tip! Thanks!

Kobo Writing Life

By Adam Dreece

There’s nothing like finding readers live tweeting your book as they read it, or finding them promoting your book to their friends. It’s one of those things that a couple of moThe Yellow Hoods: Along Came a Wolf (Book 1)nths ago, I looked at other authors on Twitter and wondered just how they did it, and could I do it? Now I’m watching it happen and have cracked a 1000 Twitter followers of my own.

I created my twitter account in February, and when I released my first book, The Yellow Hoods: Along Came a Wolf (Book 1) at CalgaryExpo in April, I had maybe 50 followers. At my booth, I figured out how to connect with people, but online I was still a couple months away from that. In June, something clicked. By early August, as I approached 600 highly engaged followers, I realized I’d figured some things out.

Understand Brand


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New Kids Releases – 9/16/14

Don’t forget: “Made by Raffi” by Craig Pomranz and “When Panda was a Boy” by Connie Dunn! Great LGBT awareness children’s lit!


The fall books have started to arrive on the shelves in BookKids, and it’s another great week for new children’s books! We are getting so many new and great books, that it’s hard to keep up. It’s also very exciting.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be sharing that excitement and rounding up many of the new kids books that hit our shelves during the fall publishing rush. As always, we’ll continue to post pictures of new releases on the store’s Instagram. Head over to our Teen Press Corps blog for the fall teen releases.

Here is a selection of what has arrived on our shelves in the two weeks since our last installment.

Staff Recommendations

Hello, I’m Johnny Cash by G. Neri, illustrated by A.G. Ford
“It’s never too early to introduce your child to the Man in Black, complete with gorgeous paintings…

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Why you need a writing process more than a writing ritual (and a 12-step writing process to slay your writing demons)

I want to check out these FILES soon! Thanks for posting!

Live to Write - Write to Live

I wish I could recall which of the masters painted this piece. If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments. I wish I could recall which of the masters painted this piece. If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments.

Are you fascinated by other people’s writing habits and routines? I am. There’s a great series on Copyblogger called The Writer Files that profiles the writing lives of different business writers and authors. I hardly ever miss an installment.

I’m a sucker for the allure of the writerly way.

Though I love knowing who uses Scrivener vs. who uses a yellow legal pad and a blue felt-tip pen, I think as writers we have a penchant for getting overly caught up in the romance of the craft. We are, most of us, confessed addicts when it comes to new notebooks and writing utensils. We each of us crave a room of our own and aren’t shy about drooling (metaphorically or literally) over another writer’s creative space. We believe…

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Roundup: New LGBTQ YA Fiction, Dystopian YA Romance, and Book Clubs

A LOT to like and check out in these lists! Thanks for gathering and posting!

wrapped up in books

I haven’t had much time for blogging here, but I thought I’d share what I’ve recently written for other spots around the bookish corners of the internet.

New and Forthcoming LGBTQ YA Fiction at YALSA’s The Hub


I’m always excited to see more LGBTQ YA, and these are six titles I’m really excited about or have already enjoyed.

Dystopian + Post-Apocalyptic Romance for NoveList’s Readers’ Advisory Newsletters

Dystopian YA Romancedystopian YA romance

When my editor asked if I’d be willing to write about dystopian romance, I took it as an opportunity to spotlight several titles that are less well known or that I personally enjoyed and think deserve more attention. Even though I’m burnt out on the genre, I still get tons of request for it in my library, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Library as Incubator Project’s Book to Art Club: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


I’m thrilled to be part of one…

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Grady P Brown - Author

I received this lovely Recognition Tag from viktoryarch and I pass on the following rules regarding the tag:

The rules are simple: if you read a blogger you enjoy, tag him/ her with a recognition tag, telling them how you appreciate them.
Tag as many as you want.  Spread the love of appreciation and recognition.  I want to give my recognition to my fellow bloggers who show their impressive posts and inspirational work.

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Being #Single vs. Social #Isolation: Benefits and Costs of #Solitude

Headlines and talk show jokes pervaded last week, screaming about the latest research in the USA claiming that being #single is now the “norm” for adults for the first time. What are the benefits and costs of this #solitude? What about increasing social #isolation, especially for #Seniors?

from Bloomberg news, we get these insights and facts:
“Single Americans make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began compiling such statistics in 1976….[That is] 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report.”

single stats

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More specifically: “The percentage of adult Americans who have never married has risen to 30.4 percent from 22.1 percent in 1976, while the proportion that are divorced, separated or widowed increased to 19.8 percent from 15.3 percent…”

Among other results of this change, “this exaggerates income inequality…” This worries and affects me and should concern us all in the USA. When so many for so long are un- or under-employed, living on fixed incomes that are unable to cover necessities and bills, we are ALL living in economically unstable situations and we ALL pay.

Singles Bloomberg graphic

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For their full article:

From another source, we get these “spins” on the topic:

“The United States Of Bachelors: Single People Now Make Up More Than 50% Of U.S. Adult Population” and “…there’s new research which indicates that being single can have enormous benefits on your wellbeing.”

Singles Fox Graphic

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Clicking on that link brings us to this headline and the real link for its list.

“The Top 5 Scientific Reasons Why Being Single Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Spirit” [with its own sources for each of the points in the article; link below this list, here]:

  • 1. Healthier Heart: “…rates of heart disease were lowest among those who had never been married. The difference between those who had been married the whole time and those who had been single the whole time was not significant, but those who were ‘remarried,’ “divorced,’ and ‘widowed’ — all statuses that can come from getting hitched — were significantly worse off.”
  • 2. Fitter Body: “…the ones who had never been married exercised more each week than those who were either married or divorced.”
  • 3. Stronger and more Diverse Social Network: “…’married people are less likely than single people to help, support, visit, and maintain contact with friends, family, and neighbors’…The same is true for partners who are unmarried but living together…. once people get married, they have less contact with their siblings….Single people…may have more emotional energy to share with friends, siblings, parents — and themselves.”
  • 4. “No Settling“: “People who can embrace being single are less likely to end up settling for unhappy partnerships, feeling stuck and unfulfilled.”
  • 5. Enjoy the Benefits of Solitude: “…[T]he solo state has been linked to ‘freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality.’ Singles — especially those who live alone — may have more time for solitude and its many psychological benefits.”

One of the correlations to being single, and in my and others’ opinions, a chief reason that being single is more popular, feasible and enjoyable now than ever? The use of social networking sites, especially via internet accessing devices such as phones and tablets, is higher than ever and rising among adults in the USA. Can’t be a coincidence.

Social-Network-Demographics 2014

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I am astonished by these stats, which are the highest for FACEBOOK: 76% of adult females and 66% of males online use Facebook! In the age group of 30 – 49, that total is 79%! Even in rural and suburban areas, that figure stays around 70% and higher. In older age groups, that percentage is still quite high: among those ages 50 – 64, 60% are using it, with 45% of Seniors using Facebook.

There has been a meme going around that shows various faces or graphics with these words: “I just spent the day on Facebook instead of being with people” or words to that effect. Truer than ever, now, for most adults, it seems.

Singlehood may be beneficial for many, especially women (many research studies have pointed this out repeatedly in recent years) but social isolation is not beneficial and is increasing, with extremely negative results for Seniors (mostly women) in the USA.


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Being alone does not equal being lonely. Being single does not equate with being unhappy. Okay. Got that. I and many others could fill many blog posts with personal stories of poor relationships’ escape stories, relief at being single, joy in alone time, happiness while on our own.

I have been saying for years that my “chooser” must be broken and therefore, I’m finished with choosing an intimate partner and happier being on my own than in another wrong relationship. If a suitable partner finds me, that might work. But my being the chooser? not going to happen again. I therefore firmly agree with the “not settling” part, above, for myself.

In a major life change spurred by many factors (personal, economic, familial), currently, as many of you know, my mother and I started sharing her condo a few weeks ago. This takes care of many of both of our social and other interpersonal needs just fine. We have our own time and our together time. We help each other and we leave each other to our own devices. We are fortunate to have rhythms and personalities that mesh well.

But, there are actual social and other needs for many adults in the USA that require interaction and assistance from live humans that are largely going unmet, especially for Senior women. What are we as a nation going to do about this? Comments and suggestions, here, please.

Senior woman alone

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#Injuries to the #Mind, #Brain and #Psyche that Cause Difficulties with #Meditation

I have been noticing, since the fall that injured my brain via a #concussion in early April, that I have had unusual and unique (to me) difficulties with meditation (and life) ever since. Add to this several other “injuries” to my mind and psyche due to: disastrous #heartbreak; a difficult #move cross-country (i.e., getting rid of almost everything, going far away from my spiritual/ meditation teacher and spiritual community/ sangha to relocate to my childhood hometown); long-term, chronic #unemployment; disappointing #ebook sales (due to my having been incapacitated during key #marketing time after my accident); unexpected and painful changes to my #health; turning 60, which have led to my noticing many other problems with my #meditation practice in the last several months that I’ve never had before this (I’ve been meditating since 1972 and doing this practice since 1999).

I think, under these circumstances, which would put me over the top on any stressors test, I am doing quite well. However, I want to meditate, not just do well. Why does my mind keep skittering away from my focus when I try to meditate? What is happening in this brain/mind of mine? I have done many retreats, some as long as eleven weeks, and never had anything like these problems before. My talks with other meditators without brain injuries confirmed that only we injured seem to have these types of difficulties.

But, why? And, what to do about them?

I kept hearing this quote as I continued my attempts:

meditation better than nothing

I pray that this is true….

Since I am a life-long researcher and the internet provides endless opportunities for me to look for “answers,” I looked around for others’ stories, cautionary tales or suggestions. I wanted to find more injured meditators I could commiserate with or teachers who could offer me advice.

What did I find? See below.

Not surprisingly, when I looked for links between “stress” and “meditation,” I found millions of links (17,700,000) referring to the help that meditation provides us when we’re stressed. Meditation for stress reduction, managing stress, alleviating stress, etc., abound on the internet and elsewhere.

NOT ONE article or study to be found that discusses how stress impacts meditation. Really? Really.

Here was my “path”:
“Searches related to meditation problems life stressors” which then provided these other key word strings:

  • meditation for stress

  • meditation for stress relief

  • guided meditation for stress

  • meditation for stress and anxiety

  • meditation for stress management

  • meditation depression

  • meditation for stress or sudden shock

  • meditation for stress and anger

Frontal lobe meditation before and after

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I also tried: “Searches related to impact of stress on meditation,” which yielded about 6 million results, but always in the reverse: how meditation helps with stress.

Okay. I must be going about this all wrong. I tried the verbal “OKAY GOOGLE” command and asked: “OKAY GOOGLE: Why am I having trouble meditating?”

I got 1,020,000 results, but these all revolved around problems “beginners” have with “monkey-mind,” or problems many have with setting aside time, being consistent, staying with meditation once they start, etc. I couldn’t look at all one million results, but the associated key word strings confirmed my suspicions: OKAY GOOGLE still did not understand my problem.

Google did offer other choices (some quite hilarious, under the circumstances):

“Searches related to why am I having trouble meditating”:

  • i am having trouble pooping

  • i am having trouble getting pregnant

  • i am having trouble sleeping at night

  • i am having trouble breathing

  • i am having trouble breathing and my chest hurts

  • i am having trouble swallowing

  • i am having trouble breathing deeply

  • i am having trouble logging into my facebook account

I even tried getting more specific with OKAY GOOGLE, asking: “Why does my concussion make it hard for me to meditate?” This query led me to even stranger associations than before, including recommendations for those with concussions to meditate to help heal from their concussions.


I don’t know whether to be flattered or to cry when this also had my own article from my blog post in May as the number 3 listing among 11,000,000 results:

concussion | Sally Ember, Ed.D.

May 2, 2014

If I’m one of the “experts,” here, we’re all in trouble.

Don't follow me I'm already lost

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So, I was going to give up on finding “help” but then I tried this search string: “research meditation frontal lobe injuries” and hit the jackpot.

First, this quote (unattributed) kept appearing: “Meditation is a frontal lobe activity,” which affected me deeply. My accident, for those who don’t know, involved my hitting a wall face-first, breaking my nose and impacting my forehead, behind which is the frontal lobe.

Here are some selected quotes from the best article I found, from the UK, that clarifies a lot about the functions of the frontal lobe, its effects on and participation in the activity of meditation, and many other aspects of my experience: very illuminating and helpful.

Case study on function of the frontal lobe

“The frontal lobes play a major role in the regulation of our emotions and behaviour as well as planning, decision making, social conduct, and executive functions. They are vulnerable to damage… [and] are thought to be our emotional control centre [sic; UK spelling] and home to our personality.”

“The frontal lobes are vulnerable to injury and damage due to their location at the front of the skull and their ample size. Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies have revealed that the frontal area is the most frequent region of damage following brain injury (Levin et al., 1987). Statistics show that there is no other component of the brain in which impairment can cause such a wide array of symptoms (Kolb and Wishaw, 1990).”

This began to intrigue me, especially the part about the “wide array of symptoms,” which I can attest to experiencing. Some of my “symptoms” have seemed to be unclearly connected to the concussion until I read more of this article.

“The frontal lobes are involved in problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement [sic; UK spelling], impulse control, social cognition (Benson, 1996) and sexual behaviour. Motor function is also seen to be controlled by the frontal lobes (Leonard et al., 1988).”

I have noticed my balance is off, my proprioceptors are off, my sense of security on my feet is reduced, but until I read this, I wasn’t sure if I was suffering from a bit of PTSD and wariness about falling again or actually having trouble. The latter, I believe now, is the case.

“Broca’s Aphasia has also been linked with frontal lobe damage (Brown, 1972). It is supported that frontal lobe damage has an effect on memory and attention (Stuss et al., 1985).”

Ding ding ding: points for all. Unfortunately.

“Mesulam (1986) pointed out from his studies, that some people who have suffered frontal lobe damage show impairments in their everyday life; however they show little or no impairment on clinical neurological assessment tests….[One injured patient was] unable to make decisions and plan…often unable to make simple everyday decisions, such as which toothpaste to buy, what restaurant to go to, or what to wear even after endless comparisons and contrasts Damasio (1985)….This may be characterised as a failure of future memory, the ability to encode delayed intentions, and act on those intentions when the appropriate time arrives.”

Usually I am extremely decisive. Even when there are complex factors, even when I feel ambivalence: before this accident and its injuries to my brain, I was considered a person others could rely on to make the choices they could or would not make. Since then, I have had hesitation, confusion, bewilderment, inability to weigh costs and benefits and many other unusual reactions to being asked to choose even the simplest things. Now I know the reasons for this befuddlement. Good.

“Interestingly, some patients who suffer from frontal lobe damage often do not show any defects on neuropsychological tests. However, when observed in unstructured real world settings, patients frequently demonstrate cognitive difficulties, neurobehavioral symptoms, and deficits in their executive functions.”

I would say, without a doubt, that the most severe deficit to my executive functions has been first my complete inability and then my reduced ability to meditate, since meditation has become the foundation for all the thinking, choosing and behaving in my life via values, personality and habit changes.

TBI as a puzzle

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I can see ways I’ve regressed since the accident and these are disturbing in deep and superficial ways. I’m more impatient, more quick to anger, easily provoked to sadness or hurt. I hide it from those close to me but take it out on customer service representatives of mega-corporations which happen to provide terrible service. Not proud of this at all.

“Studies have found high frontal lobe activation during meditation (Herzog et al, 1990; Lazer et al, 2000).”

IF I COULD MEDITATE, I would, also. I miss meditating so much. But, now I know a bit more about the reasons for my difficulties.

I hope this post and the rest of this article (link, below) help others in similar predicaments.

Keep trying, keep going: got to believe it will improve.

I’m also going to see if I can talk (or video chat) with my meditation teacher some time soon. I need something.

A quote from Thich Nhat Hanh is what I plan to contemplate until my meditation practice gets back on track.

Thich Nhat Hanh quote