…Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli… stringed Maestros…

Thanks for posting! I shared!

Seumas Gallacher

…there are musicians whose talented gifts surpass JONGGR… in these modern days where we quill-scrapers hear so much about ‘writing in the proper JONGGR, p’raps a wee lesson is to be had listening to these exponents in another field of the artistic arts… if yeez play, sing, write, or perform wonderfully at whatever yeez do, to hell with the JONGGR, I say… Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli graced the WURLD with their expertise with their different styles of violin playing… but whomever yeez listened to of the pair, they were outstanding…

yehudiviolinistsstephane…listen first to this clip, where the two were thrown together for the first time… magical… and the distinctive ‘Voices’ of each of their playing comes triumphantly to the ear…

…now, enjoy Master Menuhin’s talent…

…and compare that of Master Grappelli

…back in the day, when the rock and roll, beat, and hippy-hippy-shake tsunamis were bouncing…

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Tracking Views at Amazon—Finally..?

“#KDP Select #authors can place an advertisement and, in addition to any benefits of the ad itself, receive valuable sales information regarding their books.” Check it out! Thanks, Chris!

chrismcmullen

Image from ShutterStock. Image from ShutterStock.

TRACKING VIEWS AT AMAZON

Don’t you wish that you could see how many people are viewing your book’s product page at Amazon?

Then you’d be able to see how good your blurb and Look Inside are at closing the deal, or how well a promotion is working.

Well, now you can get tracking data at Amazon.

Amazon marketing services is now available for books enrolled in KDP Select.

For as little as a $100 budget and bids of 2 cents, you can advertise your book on Amazon.

Visit your Bookshelf and click the link under the KDP Select column called Promote and Advertise.

When I did created an advertisement this morning, I received an approval email that said:

  • “Please allow 1 day for clicks/impressions to appear…”
  • “…and 2-3 days for detail page views to appear.”

IMPRESSIONS AT AMAZON

This will show how many impressions are made all…

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Real Editors Give Writing Advice

Newbie #authors: Take notes, memorize and be ready for the TEST!

Madeleine Swann

Merry morn to you all! Although, it’s probably not morning where you are. And maybe not so merry. But it will be merry with all these lovely advice videos I handpicked just for you!

Without further ado, the first one is called The Top 5 Mistakes Amateur Writers Make

This one is a crazy length (about an hour and a half) but just pretend you’re at a college lecture – Writing Tips And Advice From Lovecraft Ezine Editor Mike Davis

This one is from a friend of the ‘vlogbrothers’, who are two professional writers who also make videos. It’s called Dare To Suck

This one is called Writing for Magazines: Top Tips by Freelance Writer Linda Formichelli and Editor Laura Pepper Wu

This is from the same channel, called: What a literary agent wants! With Rachelle Gardner

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Let’s Talk Crohn’s

Excellent analysis and insights, here. Share!
I have several relatives and friends who deal with this disease in varying degrees as well as others who have chronic illnesses; many of us have “invisible” physical limitations and other “differences.”

I like this part of your post the best:
“…I don’t think what Townsend did is all that ‘brave’ — it’s just reality. She’s just telling it like it is. This is her reality, this is who she is, and that’s that. We can either accept it or reject it – and we’d be better to accept it.

“And really, this goes for any number of things – people in wheelchairs, people with cognitive disabilities, older people – anyone and everyone. Making snap judgments usually does no one any favors.”

SFR (Science-Fiction Romance) Station Launches

Thanks, EJ! Visited, emailed C.E. Kilgore with my sci-fi/romance The Spanners Series’ two titles and my info right away! Great site! #sfrStation and #scifirom

E J Frost

Sci-fi/romance (SFR) is a bit of a red-headed step-child. Some romance readers turn up their noses at all the “unrealistic” elements of SFR. Some sci-fi purists turn up their noses at the “mushy” romantic elements. But for me, SFR is home. It’s what I want to read. When I read “straight” romance, I’m dreaming of FTL-travel and dystopian societies. When I read “straight” sci-fi, I miss the romantic tension and hope of a happy ending. The blend of science-fiction and romance feels right to me, and always has, even before I knew it was a “genre.”

Feel the same way? There’s a site for that.

HeaderBannerfacebook44SFR Station is a great new resource for sci-fi readers and authors. A member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade has undertaken the herculean task of creating a new library for readers who can find authors writing in the genre, including recent releases, free offerings…

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10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

What is the value of social networks in easing the loneliness of the solo writer? How do online groups/communities provide opportunities for sharing ideas? How do today’s writers, especially for those newly published or about to seek options in publication, benefit from building communities of virtual friends?

There are now thousands of online groups/communities a writer can join. Some are only available via membership in existing social media sites, such as Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Others are stand-alone groups that have their own websites and memberships but may also host a page on any of the other social media sites to attract and inform potential members and continue to post info to members regularly.

Then, there are the groups, chat rooms or fora one can join, lurk on and/or contribute to on Yahoo, KindleBoards, Smashwords, Bublish, Authonomy, Jukepop Serial, Wattpad, and probably hundreds more, Add to that specific professional sites’ groups, such as Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, etc., plus international groups and marketing sites and it makes one’s head spin.

If you are a blogger as well as a fiction writer, if you are a new and/or indie pub author or just one of millions who has no outside PR firm hired to market your books, you NEED groups/communities to get your “brand” known, find readers, attract followers and fans, get “pingbacks,” improve your ALEXA rating, your KLOUT or SNAP scores, get a Google Page Ranking for your website….

Don’t you?

How does a busy writer wade through all these opportunities to decide where to plant one’s online presence “flag” and still have time to write? The discerning writer who actually wants to protect your time and keep writing while marketing effectively can use these 10 criteria to choose your online memberships.

10 Criteria for Joining #Online #Groups/#Communities for #Writers

Join-us-banner

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

DECIDE whether or not to:

1. PAY or stick with FREE memberships?
Some groups are free; some start out free or have a free level but change into/have paid memberships that provide additional services or opportunities to those who pay. If you have an unlimited budget or find yourself drawn to one or more of these groups and can afford it, go ahead and become a paid (upper-level) member. Some of these groups’ upper levels really do offer services to authors that are useful; some just say they do but when you read carefully, the “services” are not much more than occasional tweets.

Beware of those that over-promise, do not deliver, or are vague about what paid membership avails members of before paying. Research them: search for the group’s hashtag or tweet handle and then privately message someone [not the leader] about specific ways that being a paid member benefits him/her.

So far, the most I have paid to “belong” to any group or purchase any “marketing” service was $15 and it wasn’t worthwhile. If you do join a group and pay your fees or dues, make sure you’re getting what you pay for and only renew if it’s worth it: no automatic renewals!

pay dues

2. Participate in “review swaps”?
As a newbie desperate for reviews for seemingly invisible books, I found these groups to be so tempting. They seemed so supportive. They offer REVIEWS, sometimes in great quantity, sometimes with rankings and votes as well. But, free or not, these review “exchanges” come with several “prices,” and I personally decided the prices were too high.

For one, I am not comfortable providing pre-arranged and necessarily positive reviews (usually these swaps require/request a review rating of 4 or higher) for books I haven’t yet read in order to get the same for my own books (which the “reviewers” may or may not fully read). I “got into trouble” for daring to critique the books I read for being under-edited, overwritten, poorly constructed, badly plotted, shallow, etc.

Second, and much more chilling: if you join these groups and participate, you run the risk of having any or all of your reviews summarily removed from Amazon for not being inauthentic (some rightly so).

Third, some social media sites (Goodreads, for one) monitors members’ activities and sends messages to those members it believes are abusing the site, such as by “buying” or “trading” votes on Listopia, for example, or providing “fake” 5-star reviews to numerous members’ books. If you even get accused and especially when caught, you will discover that most sites’ TOS say they can suspend your account permanently and remove your books’ reviews, rankings, votes, etc., often with no warning and no recourse.

banned from Amazon

Although I joined some of these groups initially, I found out all of this later. Then, I removed myself within a few months of joining. I never paid to join.

If you are comfortable with the risks and conditions, go right ahead and participate.

3. Participate in Blog Hops and other “required” activities?
Some of these are great and worth doing. Others, not so much.

Look around, visit a few, comment, see what happens. THEN, decide.

4. Join a “Tweet” team or use group hashtags when posting?
This is highly recommended by some, disregarded by many. When someone posts nothing on Twitter but lists of others’ handles and the group’s hashtag, NO ONE CARES. Don’t do that.

But, if your group actually retweets, comments, replies, shares, ENGAGES with each others’ tweets or posts, that is worthwhile and those groups are worth joining.

5. Become a regular responder/poster or stay in the “shadows” (read/lurk but don’t comment, “LIKE,” +1 or post)?
I highly recommend lurking/reading many days’ or months’ worth of posts for some “Boards,” Communities or Groups before posting yourself. Get the “culture” of the group: the tone, the topics, the length, the repartee, the purposes. See if these resonate with you and your “brand” or style. If yes, go right ahead and join in the conversation. If not, move on.
Do not join a group to argue, criticize, lambast or attack.

Remember: the internet is “forever”: if you get into a “flame war,” readers/fans and publishers (and employers) can find it years later. Perhaps use a pseudonym for controversial posts.

Zooey Deschanel quote about trolls

6. Become a “help offered,” “help requested” or both type of participant?
You can become a resource to others on many sites (Quora, Ask an Expert, Reddit, etc.) or request help yourself.

Respect, assistance and expertise are admired. Whining, complaining, false information or bragging: not.

7. Join as yourself, your brand/books/website, your pseudonym?
EVERYTHING you post becomes part of your brand unless you use pseudonyms. The intentional and judicious use of pseudonyms is recommended, particularly if you write in vastly different genres (children’s books and erotica) or want to comment on controversial topics but not affect your brand.

If you become a “content curator,” offering information, help, creative/fun posts, and these are consistent (or at least not contradictory) with your brand, go for it! Join groups and comment/post frequently as yourself. Get to know/be known by the members, become a fan /follower of theirs.

I belong to several groups whose members and I are becoming virtual friends. We support each other’s efforts.

encouragers-wanted

image from: http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com

These are the groups worth joining and continuing to be active in and are valuable even when you have little time. If you comment here with one of yours, I’ll share some of mine!

Dump the rest.

8. Join any genre-specific or topic-specific groups?
If you are a “genre” writer, then, YES: join one or more of these groups.

I belong to sci-fi, romance, paranormal, ebooks, indie pub, fantasy, “clean” indie, female-oriented, YA, speculative fiction, blogger, author, writer, marketing, science, tech, G+ HOA help and many other groups that I interact with, enjoy and learn from weekly.

Be sure to read and follow each group’s posting guidelines carefully to avoid getting disliked, kicked out or otherwise censored.

9. Offer any giveaways, have contests, provide guest spots yourself?
If you have print books or swag, go right ahead and offer it/them. I highly recommend that you think of what you have to offer and start offering (e.g., free PDFs of writing tips, samples of your writing, free passes, discount coupons) whenever you can.

I have a blog (http://www.sallyember.com/blog) and an almost-weekly Google+ Hangout On Air (CHANGES HOA), so I can and do offer guest blog opportunities and guest starring spots. If you’d like to propose a guest blog topic and date and/or be on CHANGES, get in touch with me here: sallyember@yahoo.com

I am also a series ebooks novelist, so I offer the first book in The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, as “permafree,” which is highly recommended for newbies to do, once we have subsequent books for sale.

When you are doing many other types of writing and interacting regularly with several online groups/communities, you can occasionally plug your own books! Like, NOW!

logoAuthorsDen

10. Enter any contests or pay for reviews or marketing?

When a group’s entire purpose is to further its own ends and fill its coffers with entry fees, service charges, etc., these make me suspicious. But, I am naturally cynical.

I decided early on not to pay to enter any writing contests, not to pay for reviews, not to pay for “members’ services” and mostly not to pay for marketing. These are my decisions and not everyone agrees with them.

Some individuals offer a combination of free and for sale services/marketing, so you can decide which you want to participate in/join. I have met several great people and had excellent experiences in some groups in this way: I participated in their free activities and then did not continue when the next steps required payment since I couldn’t afford or did not need those services at that point. I do give these “helpers” regular “shout-outs” and thank them publicly for all they do/have done, actions which I hope make up for my lack of financial support to them.

The professionals left me alone when I asked them to do so. The ones who wouldn’t stop emailing and kept on when I asked them to stop or when I told them I wasn’t buying got relegated to spam and ignored.

You have to decide for yourself. However, if you are considering paying for any of these, please research the contest, reviewers, PR person, etc., thoroughly.

Writing Community

It’s bad enough not to win or not to get what you paid for; it’s worse when you’ve paid a lot. BEWARE!

If/when you find groups worth joining, please comment about them here.

Best of luck to you all!

#Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices

A repost from 1/30/14 from my own blog.

quantum-buddha-side

The above image is entitled “Quantum Buddha,” and it captures the essence of this post: the intersection of Buddhism and modern science. Meditation as medicine, mindfulness for many purposes, research data to support their usefulness seem to be in the headlines almost daily. Some links are below to articles like that.

http://ideas.time.com/2014/01/17/we-need-to-take-meditation-more-seriously-as-medicine/

Being called The Third Metric, and The Way of the Future for politics, leadership, business and family life, mindfulness is now almost mainstream.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/third-metric_n_4612396.html

Will meditation cure your depression? Your cancer? Your diabetes? Your stress?

http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2014/01/heat-the-body-heal-the-mind

What are the facts? What is true? What is correct? How do you know?

Einstein and Buddhism

There was recently a forum on meditation led by the actor, Goldie Hawn, at a World Economics conference!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-20/at-davos-rising-stress-spurs-goldie-hawn-meditation-talk.html

You decide, after learning to meditate, researching via personal experience as well as reading and watching videos, attending conferences and talking with others, what YOU believe. The Buddha would want you to do that. Really.

reject buddha Dalai Lama

When you have time and want to learn a lot more, watch this amazing documentary. Yogis of Tibet.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DctQTDm-HdU

“Fever-reducing drugs may help spread flu”: People End Up With More Virus In Their Bodies

reblog from post from a year ago: VERY USEFUL TO KNOW during ‘flu season.
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fever-reducing-drugs-raise-spread-flu-study-article-1.1588812

I and my “alternative health” friends and practitioners have been saying for decades (centuries): FEVER is helpful. Let the accompanying fever do its thing, which is to kill the virus/bacteria, unless a fever is dangerously high.

IMPORTANT: Stay away from people throughout the fever period and for at least 24 hours after fever passes: then, you’re no longer contagious.

This and That

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“Imaginative #SciFi Work of Art”: Positive #Reviews for both Vol I and Vol II of The Spanners Series!

"Imaginative #SciFi Work of Art ": Positive #Reviews

for both Vol I and Vol II of The Spanners Series!

Ashley Jacoby reviewed This Changes My Family and My Life Forever (The Spanners Series, Volume 2) and remarked about Vol I, This Changes Everything, as well. http://goo.gl/zRlvXz

logoAuthorsDen

"Imaginative Sci Fi Work of Art," January 21, 2015

"Imaginative and inventive. Let me start with saying I love this book and I received this product free from Sally Ember through the BuView review program in exchange for an honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

"Now that being said, it's a wonderful story place through time and space past present future. I love that it shows there can be peace, understanding and acceptance in the worlds. Clara is a very intriguing character and I love reading her story. The second book is laid out by character and reads as such so some whom don't like this type of lay out may get a bit lost within the story. Although I'd have to say it isn't that hard to follow just isn't the classic story layout.

"My only real complaint is that at times I felt like I was reading an instruction manual or dictionary. Which is understandable as it is complex writing and the readers need to understand whats being said, it just could have been laid out better. Aside from this small drawback, this is a great sci-fi series and I highly recommend it. I downloaded the first one even before reading volume 2 so I wouldn't be lost. I'll be sure to keep up as the author continue writing; can't wait to further follow this story."


This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

PERMAFREE! Volume I, This Changes Everything, Blurb:
Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family's and friends' reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara's term as Earth's first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.
Are YOU ready for the changes?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

final cover print

$3.99 Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, blurb:
Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien "Band" are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever of The Spanners Series. Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.
How would YOU do with the changes?
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

More LINKS on http://www.sallyember.com  main website: look right and scroll down. Kobo, iBooks, nook, more reviews, interviews, book trailers, more.
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  author page
https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd Twitter: @sallyemberedd
https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber Spanners Series' page on FB
https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember
http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember
http://goo.gl/tZKQpv Spanners Series' page on Google+
http://www.google.com/+SallySueEmber Sally Sue Ember on Google+
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember

Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven:
http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

The Dark Side of The Spanners Series

This is a repost from 8/27/13, since so many new readers are finding The Spanners Series, especially This Changes Everything, Volume I, after its PERMAFREE status began 4/1/14 and have asked for a Glossary.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
FREE everywhere ebooks are sold. All links, reviews, author interviews, readings and more: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners Look right; scroll down.

In the back of each Volume, I do update and add to the Glossaries, but here you go:

As explained by Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D., main narrator

Toughness = how much energy a material (or person) can absorb without breaking. As carbyne’s toughness becomes well-known in the early part of the 21st century on Earth as both the material used most in space travel and interstellar communication (reacts best in temperatures 25º C or lower), carbyne’s toughness becomes the metaphor best understood as the way to describe my experiences as the Chief Communicator. Carbyne is stronger than steel or graphene, thinner yet stiffer than any other form of carbon, including diamonds, and lighter as well; most importantly, carbyne can be “grown” as well as mined.

Fragmenters (“Fraggers” who “Frag”) = Usually Earthers; opposite of well-meaning Spanners. Fraggers disintegrate, pull apart, ruin cooperation, destroy unity, incite conflicts and disagreements, refuse to compromise. They are Conservatives, fear-mongers, and nonbelievers despite ample evidence. They are fundamentalists, entrenched, hence, the Trenchers are their extremists. Being Fragged involves having an individual Fragger or a group of them interfere with and/or ruin Spanners’ plans for peace, harmony, multiverse travel, ESP trainings, intergalactic travel, etc. Can even be used when no Fragger is involved, much the way current Earther humans talk about Mercury’s retrograde status as the “cause” of problems with travel, communications, and planning.

Trenchers = Usually Earthers; extremists among the Fraggers, ones most difficult to deal with. Known for digging in, refusing to listen to reason or information that contradicts their views, being Reactionaries, resorting to violence, abusing dark psi and using other nefarious means (kidnapping, murdering, sabotaging, causing harm in other ways) to prevent the Transition or success of Earth’s inclusion in the Many Worlds Collective or cooperation with the InterGalactic Council and any other worlds’ representatives. Being Trenched involves being sabotaged, kidnapped, murdered, or otherwise seriously harmed by a Trencher or a Fragger.

Psi-Warriors = PWs; Not always Earthers; those with exceptional Psi skills and abilities, with or without the MWC (Many Worlds Collective) ESP(Excellent Skills Program) training. From Spanners’ perspectives, PWs are on the “right” sides of these conflicts, ones who utilize their powers to fight Trenchers and to persuade (sometimes not ethically or properly) Fraggers to alter their opinions. Psi-Wars/Fights/Battles are between PWs and Psi-Defiers.

Psi-Defiers = PDs; ironically, while claiming not to believe in Psi, PDs utilize it as their chief weapon. PDs are usually Earthers, but can be anyone with exceptional Psi skills and abilities, with or without MWC ESP training program. PDs utilize (some say abuse) their powers to oppose Spanners and especially PWs (and other pro-MWC-ers). Spanners view PDs as being on the “wrong” sides of these conflicts. Can sometimes persuade (usually not ethically or properly) by including invading dreams, sowing doubt and fear, and indoctrinating children, others to their cause and gather more Fraggers and Trenchers. PDs are often already Trenchers, so they claim religious freedom, grace from their deities, and other bases for their powers and positions.

OverSeers = OSes (pronounced Oh Essess); those (not usually Earthers, although more join as Earth’s involvement in the MWC continues) with top-level ESP training within the MWC, like the Secret Service for the IGC (InterGalactic Council), who monitor, regulate, and protect members of the MWC from threats, using Psi as well as more conventional methods to control Fraggers, Trenchers, and Psi-Defiers all around the multiverse. Ultimately, OSes can banish intractable enemies of peace and harmony to specifically designated multiverse timelines to keep them there where they are unable to cause further harm. This becomes the way to imprison/sequester the worst criminals, who can’t be rehabilitated, until they Return or are Reinvolved.
OSes include the investigators (OSIs, pronounced OhEssEyes), enforcers (OSEs, pronounced OhEssEes), and espionage/covert ops teams (OSOps, pronounced OhSops) each with their own “stars” in The Spanners Series (mostly in Volumes III, IV, VI and IX).

Sequestering = <strong>Qing (pronounced cueing); the ultimate punishment, deemed necessary when enemies of the MWC refuse to reform and are violent threats to peace and harmony. Qing involves sending individuals or groups to the MWC’s prison-type multiverse timeline, until they Return. Often referred to as being Qed (pronounced cueued), when someone is relegated to one of these timelines as their punishment. OSes (pronounced OhEssess) often use references to Qing as a threat to get information during investigations.
Reminds many Earthers quite negatively of tactics used by secret police in many totalitarian regimes, such as for South American countries’ disappeared, USSR’s sending political prisoners to the Gulag, or USA’s use of “extraordinary rendition” and imprisonment in Guantanamo, all without any legal process. Therefore, Sequestering is very closely monitored.
Decisions for an individual to be Qed must be determined by many judges, with regular imprisonment, first, while awaiting confirmation that Qing is the only option left to preserve public safety (much like the death penalty process, when that was still in use). Or, if you’re a “Warehouse 13” TV show fan, like having a villain “bronzed,” or, if you’re a “Superman” movies fan, similar to the exiling of the criminals who attempted a coup right before Krypton exploded.
Communication after being Qed is quite limited; no former friends or family members have regular access to those who have been Qed. All communication must be pre-approved and go through certified Q Communicators, who are able to timult and communicate with those in alternate timelines. Once an individual has been Qed, s/he never comes back into this timeline until their Return or Reinvolvement. Like reincarnation, Return involves dying to release one’s consciousness out of one’s current physical form, then coming back intentionally in an Earther’s or other form, for a new life, restarting at birth or that form’s beginning stages, to benefit beings; Reinvolvement is more random and carries with it opportunities for improvement of oneself, mostly).

final cover print

Psi-Penalty = Psi-P; the “price” that I, as the Chief Communicator, and others must “pay” when utilizing ES (Extraordinary Skills) to timult as we discover that we must choose between personal satisfaction or temporary happiness and more lasting, global harmony and peace (Psi-P is the main reason I am not with Epifanio in many timelines). Psi-P reveals a trade that must be made, but it is often made with great sorrow, sacrifice, honor and integrity. Sometimes the Psi-P is known only to the one paying the price; sometimes, others know or are told; some Psi-Ps are quite public, especially during Transition, so most Earthers know a Psi-P is sometimes necessary.
I often mourn or complain by saying that I’ve been “Psi-Ped” (pronounced sigh-peed) whenever I most miss Epifanio.

15 reasons I could only give a 2-Star #Review for The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide, 2015

I received an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide and promised to write and post an honest review here on my own blog and on at lesat one other ebook site (see links, below) in exchange.

Self-publishing Ultimate cover

According to the co-editors, this Guide “is the first and largest collection of curated and verified resources for independent authors who plan to publish their own books. Produced by a team with long experience in both traditional and independent publishing, the over 850 resources are listed in an easy-to-use format that includes live links, phone numbers, email addresses and brief descriptive copy. The Guide makes vendors and other resources easy to find by separating them into 33 distinct categories within the 3 main tasks the self-publisher must deal with. How to Prepare, Publish, and Promote their books.”

15 reasons I could only give a 2-Star #Review for

The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide

PERSONAL NOTE: This Guide already received some excellent endorsements from “heavy-hitters” in the Indie-Publishing industry, several of whom happen to be my unofficial mentors: Mark Coker of Smashwords, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, and Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, to name a few.

I’m daring to add to and not to agree with these experts’ opinions, here. If I were you, I’d also go read theirs! And, please: I’m trying to be constructive, so I give a lot of recommendations and make many pleas. It’s not just a pan.

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to give it 5 stars. I cannot.

The best thing I can say about this is that the editors promise that they want it to be improved and added to quarterly or annually.

I am NOT trying to be snarky or mean. I genuinely went in with high hopes and expectations, given all the hype and positive endorsements this Guide has had. These hopes were dashed in the first few chapters and it did not get better as I went along.

I hope they will take my critique and others’ feedback to make the Guide better, not just longer.

Here are my 15 reasons for giving Guide only 2 stars:

  1. Why isn’t this an actual GUIDE? Why is the Guide almost entirely just a lot of somewhat organized lists?
    Instead of directing, informing, and assisting new indie authors with each selected aspect (and I do like the aspects, or chapters, they decided to include), there is a lot of information not given. This info is either missing, such as the reasons a writer would need to use a section or how to use the information provided, or withheld, such as the providing of a rating system or users’ experiences for each resource—annotations, as in YELP or Angie’s List—for each entry.
    If we wanted to acquire a list of resources, we could do that from many other places.
    The editors say these have been vetted, but where is the evidence of that? What did they assess? Why don’t they include their assessments, or a summary of why each listing is “better” than those not included, and for what, exactly?
    I was very disappointed in the editors’ lack of interaction with each listing provided. They seem to have merely collected a lot of self-written descriptions or blurbs about each entry (meaning, written by each resource provider, not the editors or users) and put the selected listings in alphabetical order.
    Since they say they vetted each entry and rejected some, why aren’t we reading more about WHY they included each entry?
    If I had paid for this “GUIDE,” I’d want a refund.

  2. This book was poorly written and edited. However, the authors’ long, impressive bios (see below) list extensive experiences in editing and proofreading. They also exhort the need for both in this Guide .
    However, even though I wasn’t looking for or expecting to find mistakes, find them I did. There were numerous mistakes in grammar, punctuation and syntax as well as inexcusably sloppy and poor writing in almost every one of their brief intros/summaries for each section/chapter. Finding so many problems was surprising and very disappointing.

  3. The editors mention more than once a warning to readers to “read the fine print” if they choose to enter into contracts, but nowhere do they provide any tips or hints about exactly what to watch out for, what to avoid, what to accept. Why?
    Their advice is so vague as to be trite and useless; without specifics, they’re not helping anyone. Why not a chapter on “Don’ts” or “Beware of…”?
    [It’s as if they started to write a guide and then, halfway through, made it a listing service instead. It makes me wonder if there was some money exchanging hands, ensuring certain listings and keeping out others.
    Is that just my inner cynic talking? There is no evidence of resource providers’ purchasing their listings….]

  4. Why did they not include a chapter on authors’ support networking? There are so many indie authors’ forums, Kindle Boards, authors’ groups, etc.
    If they take my advice and add that chapter, I hope they make notations as to which resources/ groups/ providers are fee-based and which are free, and what the fee ranges are, if applicable, and what the fees avail members of, specifically.
    Fee information is crucial but missing from every chapter.
    Also, I hope they weed out the “review swap” groups, since these violate Amazon’s Terms of Service, and I hope they would EXPLAIN the TOS violation consequences (removal of reviews, for example) in their new chapter.

  5. Why is there a chapter on websites for authors? What makes a website for authors particularly unique vs. a website for bloggers, e.g., or vs. any other small business? This claim of distinction is never explained, yet there is a chapter devoted to a list of people they are supporting who supposedly create websites “for authors.”
    I’m scratching my head over this. If the editors explained their rationale, I might be on board. However, again, no explanations are given.

  6. There is a chapter devoted to Book Reviews with no mention of the extremely important and controversial issue of paid vs. free reviews, and no annotations as to which of those listed charges authors for providing reviews nor how much they charge.
    These omissions are significant oversights. Must correct in future revisions, please.

  7. There are several chapters that are devoted to formatting one’s book—ebooks vs. print vs. Print On Demand vs. “Short Run” [sic]—with no explanation as to the differences among these formats or which to do first and the reasons.
    Also, what about the issue of whether or not even to have a print version: why? when? at what cost? Many of us do not have any print versions: what are the consequences of going ebook-only for each genre?
    Furthermore, when introducing each type of formatting, there is no explanation about the reasons/ bases for ebooks’ formatting issues or the assistance offered, via Smashwords vs. Amazon, for example, or about difficulties of passing through Smashwords‘ “meatgrinder” successfully and what that success generates in benefits; no mention is made of that nor that Digital2Digital does not use such gate-keeping, for example.
    If this is truly going to serve as a guide, MORE ANNOTATIONS and information are needed.

  8. What is a Short Run [sic]? I have never heard of it (since I have no print books, yet) and it was not sufficiently explained (nor hyphenated?). Why include it if not also to explain more completely what it is?

  9. Several key “players” were omitted, which I know can be corrected, but since some of them provided endorsements or reviews, I’m baffled by their absences. Many of those missing are very prominent in the blogosphere, Google+ or Twitter but not so much on Facebook. What about those who shine on Pinterest, Instagram, or Tsu?
    Maybe these editors not as active on the other social media platforms? The Book Marketing Tools and its free ebooks listing tool, e.g., were not included.
    In order to be an actual GUIDE and not just a list, part of this chapter should include annotations giving pros and cons of authors’ activity on each platform and who the leaders are on each.

  10. Social media platforms are the not the only places authors need to “go” or be “seen.” Start with: Blog Talk Radio shows that feature authors and books, like Indie Books with Will Wilson, The Backporch Writer with Kori Miller, and so many more; Google+ LIVE and taped Hangouts on Air, such as my show, CHANGES, which then go to Youtube; D’vorah Lansky’s and others’ teleseminars and webinars devoted to books, book marketing and authors; The Authors Show, A Book and a Chat and many others on their own “channels”; podcasts and other shows, such as The Author Hangout, with Shawn Manaher and R.J. Adams, via iTunes and other sources, and so many more.
    Please request and create a chapter with annotated listings of opportunities of this type and how to access them.

  11. There was no mention of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and the controversies/problems indie authors face regarding this, nor was a distinction made between Kindle Select and Kindle Direct.
    These are exactly the types of explanations missing from this book that need to be put in, please.

  12. Why was there such a small number of “Social Media Consultants” included? I could come up with more than that, yet I am not one myself nor have I used one.
    The editors need to do better outreach, here, and a LOT of annotating, since many who call themselves “experts” are NOT; I know vetting is something these editors say they have been doing, so let’s see the results.

  13. There needs to be more info about money. For example, if the chapter on contests and awards is going to be useful as more then an incomplete list, each entry needs to be annotated to include info on entry fees and deadlines as well as more about the actual value of winning or placing in each.
    These contests can take a lot of time: show us what’s required, specifically, to enter, please, and what we might gain from winning.
    Great to include a chapter on acquiring funding, too, but that also seemed a bit “light.” There are many more opportunities out there, but at least there were several clearinghouses, like C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers, listed.
    Such lacks make this book more of a jumping-off point than a guide, though.

  14. I also don’t understand why those who provide services in more than one area (as delineated by these editors) are not dually or triply listed, as often ought to be the case. Readers/users will find resources only in the chapters they go to skim and may not read other chapters at all.
    For example, Judith Briles is listed for her private site, but Author U is not listed at all, anywhere I could find.
    I know it would make the Guide longer, but there must be a way to show readers that a listing appears elsewhere in the book, or could appear elsewhere (and in what chapters) but editors decided to list each resource only once for space reasons, right?

  15. I do not think Book Promoters are the same as book PR people, but perhaps I’m alone in this. In any case, I think having the word “Promoters” missing from the chapter headings is confusing.

If/when most or all of these omissions, errors and improvements are managed, I’d love to see that version. Or, maybe they should change the title from “Ultimate Resource Guide” to “Resource Compendium” or “Resource Listings.” They’d have fewer changes to make if they did that.

I wouldn’t think that would be as useful, though, as my revised version could be. I hope SOMEONE makes that version!

Meanwhile, although I believe The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide may be worthwhile as a starting point, it is far from being the “Ultimate Resource Guide” at this point.

Any newbie to self-publishing would have to pick up many other and better guides to make this one useful.


On their book’s website, in the FAQs, they state: “We plan to update the ebook edition of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide monthly after the launch, eventually moving to a quarterly update. The print edition will be updated once each year, so we’ll have a new edition reflecting all the changes at the end of 2015.”

Proof? they post this excellent exhortation/invitation on the “CONTACT” page:

The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide is a living document.

Although we have tried to gather the most valuable resources for indie authors, it’s inevitable that some have been missed, and new products and services are constantly being introduced. We want your help to make it even better. If you know of a person, company, product, or service of value to independent authors that’s not included in this guide, please let us know. You can send submissions to be included in the next edition of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide by the contact form below. Thank you.

Essential Qualification Guidelines for those who wish to be listed in The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide.

Extensive, professional experience in serving the self-publishing community.
A current, informative, interactive website.
Complete contact information; location (city, state/province, country), phone number, email address, and contact person if applicable.
Outstanding reputation; positive client/customer testimonials and/or reviews.
The final decision on all listings is at the editors’ discretion.

Note: Personal connection or recommendation of resource/business, is meant for anyone who is recommending someone else’s business. Say you are an author and use an editor not listed in the book. You can put that into the submission as your connection (I am an author who uses these services) and recommendation (what you think of the services you receive). It would not apply to someone who is asking for their own company to be included.


For more information: http://www.spresourceguide.com/

Ebook Purchase and Review Links:
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QSKUS2Q/
B&N (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-self-publisherr-joel-friedlander/1120927172?ean=2940150138957
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-self-publisher-s-ultimate-resource-guide
Apple (iBooks): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/self-publishers-ultimate-resource/id950440919?mt=11

The Authors/Editors:

Joel Friedlander
“…is an award-winning book designer and blogger who has been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994 from his book design and consulting practice at Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California. Joel is a self-published author and the blogger behind http://TheBookDesigner.com, a popular and award-winning blog on book design, book marketing, and the future of the book. Joel is also the founder of The Self-Publishing Roadmap, a training course for authors, and http://TheBookMakers.com and http://BookDesignTemplates.com, where he provides tools and services for authors who publish their own books. He speaks often at publishing industry events and is a past president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.”

Joel-2014-headshot-300x

Betty Kelly Sargent
“…is the founder of BookWorks, and the founder of The Educated Author, and writes a monthly column on self-publishing for Publishers Weekly. She is a member of the Independent Editors Group (EIG) and has spent more than 30 years in the traditional publishing business, most recently as editor-in-chief of William Morrow, where at one point she had three books on the New York Times best-seller list at once. She has also been executive editor at HarperCollins, executive editor at Delacorte Press, Fiction and Books editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, and book reviewer for CNN. She is the author of seven traditionally published books and one self-published book. She moderates panels and workshops in New York City and Los Angeles and is passionate about helping indie authors learn to navigate the ever-changing landscape of self-publishing.”

Betty-photo-1

Copyright © 2015 Marin Bookworks, All rights reserved.

CONTACT:
The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide Editors,
Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent
Marin Bookworks
369-B THIRD STREET #572
SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901
editor@spresourceguide.com

It’s not just “one bad #cop”: My 5-Point Plan to Revamp USA #Policing

This post is longer than usual, but it includes personal experiences, research and citations, and my 5-Point Plan. If these topics interest you, well worth your time.

I’ve had it. I’m fed up.

And I know whereof I speak. Three brief, personal experience anecdotes of bad cops:

A) Long-standing problems of prejudice, brutality and out-of-control behaviors by police are rampant and supported by other officers.
I successfully sued my local police department back in the 1980s for false arrest, harassment and attempts to intimidate me out of making a police brutality complaint.
I caught local police officers beating up a juvenile for hanging out in a supermarket parking lot where I happened to be shopping (four: two hitting, two watching and doing nothing). After taking down all the officers’ names and badge numbers, which the abusive ones tried to prevent me from doing, I walked the one block over to the downtown center, where the police station and city park were.

I had just gone swimming with my family prior to shopping. My partner had taken our son to the city park while I shopped, agreeing to meet up after I was finished. The witnessing I had chosen to do had made me about a half-hour late, which is very long by baby standards. The park was right across from the police station, so I met up with my partner and our toddler. As we walked over together, I explained my mission. My son was very hungry and not too happy at my having been delayed in reuniting with him. I sat in the lobby area breastfeeding him, chatting with my partner while waiting to make my formal complaint.

One of the abusive officers happened to walk by as we sat there. When he saw me, he asked the desk officer why I was there. I could hear them talking. A few minutes later, he came toward me, looming over my chair where I sat nursing my son. He was screaming and yelling at me, saying that I was under arrest.

I laughed at him and told him he was out of line, thinking maybe this was a strange idea of a joke. But he insisted he was serious. I looked over at the desk officer, who shrugged, indicating that I had to go with this still-screaming officer.

I asked if I could take my baby, since he wasn’t finished eating, but the officer spit out an emphatic “NO!” Reluctantly, I handed our baby to his father and went with this insane man with a gun to the PD’s basement. What he had in mind, I had no idea, but I could scream very loudly and planned to do so. Having taught junior high school for several years prior to this and having had an extremely abusive father, it took a lot more than screaming to intimidate me.

When we got downstairs, he got out an old typewriter and began to beat out his arrest report, barking and yelling each question, until we got to my age. When I said “27,” he realised that I was not, as he had presumed from my youthful appearance, a teen mom, but was actually older than he was.

He immediately stopped yelling. However, he somehow still felt compelled to continue with this absurd arrest. He took my mug shots and fingerprinted me, then told me to go back upstairs.

With inked fingers, I went back to the lobby and continued to feed my baby. I told my partner what had happened, both of us incredulous and disgusted. The Lieutenant called me in. I told him that I had just been arrested while waiting to make a complaint about police brutality. He asked, “On what charges?” I told him what the officer had told me, not able to withhold my laughter: “‘Resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer, and intimidating a police officer’ were the charges,” I told him. Knowing that I am 5′ tall and the officer is well over 6′ tall, I assume that is the reason this Lieutenant looked startled.

The Lieutenant put his head in his hands and shook his head, apologizing. “That should not have happened,” he told me. He listened and took notes for my formal complaints, now plural.

I found a great lawyer who took my case on contingency and sued. I also testified on behalf of the juvenile and got his arrest expunged.

Due to my lawsuit, which we settled out of court for a sizable sum pending several conditions, these were met as follows: the two main brutalizing officers involved (one of whom arrested me) were fined, reprimanded and left the force; training and supervision for all patrol officers were improved and made mandatory even for veterans; the Lieutenant who balefully and with great chagrin received my actual complaint and acted on it was made Captain of the force, replacing the one who had been ignoring such behaviors by those he supervised.

B) Police do what owners and managers of businesses tell them to do regardless, of actual laws.
I walked out of another courtroom due to false arrest charges’ being thrown out.
Three years later, a manager of a local movie theatre had asked me to stand up while waiting in an ever-growing line, but I had explained, calmly, that I had a bad leg and couldn’t do that. He then asked me to move to the benches lining the walls, but I didn’t want to lose my place in line, so I politely refused. He threatened to call the police. I looked up from the magazine I was reading (happened to be MS.) and asked on what charge? He blustered a while, then yelped, “Trespassing.” I showed him my ticket and told him to go away, call the cops, do whatever he wanted, sure of my legality.

A not-very-assertive officer from this same police force showed up at his call. Despite my showing this officer my ticket and explaining about my disability, he apologetically arrested me. When asked, he told me the charge was “Trespassing,” but even as he said it, I knew he was aware of that charge’s being ridiculous.

As I was being led out by this officer, the manager hurriedly gave me a refund. As the box office worker reclaimed my ticket, the manager loudly claimed that NOW I was trespassing. I pointed out that at this moment, I was standing while apparently under arrest, so which did he want? Standing or leaving? He ordered me to leave.

I hired the same lawyer as in A, above, since our lawsuit had just barely settled at that point. He sent another attorney with me to the so-called trial (he explained the PD couldn’t just throw the case out because of my successful suit). However, the judge viewed the charge otherwise.

Because a contention of “Trespassing” was obviously idiotic and illegal, AND because, once I appeared in court, the judge knew who I was, the case was thrown out during the “testimony” of the theatre people. During the initial questioning, both the manager and the box officer clerk admitted that the theatre had no such “must stand up” rule (I have had many mobility problems and couldn’t stand up for very long at that time). They also agreed, when asked, that the ticket stated right on it: “ADMIT ONE,” which meant I had had the legal right to be in the lobby, waiting to enter the seating area, in whatever way I needed to be waiting (sitting or standing).

Since the case was thrown out, I dropped my suit. Every time I saw the arresting officer around town, he apologized.

C) Police are too-often poorly trained and supervised for making arrests and handing out citations.
A few years later, while I was still living in this same town, a patrol officer stopped me because he believed my car was overdue for the mandated semi-annual inspection. I told him that he was wrong and refused to get out of my car or stop because a 7-year-old friend of my son’s was meeting us after school at our house and, until I got there, no one was home. I told him, if he insisted on giving me a citation, he would have to follow me home (3 blocks away).

He did, and gave me a citation, which I told him was ridiculous. I told him that a new law had gone into effect at the beginning of this month so that motorists had until the end rather than the beginning of each anniversary month to comply, and this was mid-month. He insisted my car was “out of inspection” and must be cited.

A few weeks later, when this ill-informed officer had realized his mistake AND found out who I was (see A and B, above), he sent me a heartfelt, badly misspelled, handwritten apology, withdrawing the citation. In this letter, he claimed that, since officers had to purchase new manuals annually with their own money, he had not yet been able to afford one at the time of my citation. Since then, he assured me, he had done acquired a new manual and reviewed the new laws. He was now aware of the law’s change and told me I had been correct.


I wish my experiences were unique, to be viewed as quaint, cautionary tales from the bad, “olden” days of the last century. Not so.

Apparently, intelligent, educated police offers are BANNED from many jobs in law enforcement. I am not kidding. “…[F]ederal courts have ruled since 2000 that police departments can legally opt to not hire someone simply because he or she scores too high on an intelligence test….[T]hose who eventually become detectives and solve crimes are the same people who were initially allowed to become police officers at least partly because they did not score too high on an intelligence test.”
http://www.mintpressnews.com/can-someone-be-too-smart-to-be-a-cop/192106/

To make matters worse, here is a major website for advice and tips to help potential candidates pass the entrance exam for incoming police, nationwide, http://policelink.monster.com/education/articles/40799-ten-tips-for-the-police-entrance-exam.

Here is an exact quote from the “10 Tips”:
10) Proof read test. Before you turn in your test answer sheet, be sure to check it over. Test takers often leave answers blank and that impacts their final score. This also gives you a chance to go back and answer those hard to figure out answers.
Grade: C-
1) Missing hyphens (“test-takers,” “hard-to-figure-out answers”).
2) “Proof read” as two words.
3) Pronouns with no clear antecedent (“that” in sentence three; “This” starting the fourth sentence).
4) Ending a sentence with a preposition (“over” in second sentence).

Then, we have this site, purporting to provide a “Police Practice Test.” http://lawenforcementjock.com/police-practice-test/ This site’s home page has a typo/misspelling in its first paragraph: “Similar to that of the New York State Police, agency are now ranking applicants based entirely on their test scores.”

There is so much wrong with the following paragraph, same site, I don’t know where to start:

In my experience, a test can comprise true/false questions; fill in the blank; and essay. However, most police departments like the Seattle police department prefer to use multiple choice exams. Such tests are preferred because of their objectivity, allowing the examiner to access the candidate’s ability to perform the duties of a police officer. Furthermore” [their quotation mark at the end, not mine]

How can we expect incoming officers to be smarter than the people who are providing them special assistance for passing these tests? These helpers apparently have substandard vocabularies as well as minimal grasps of usage, common punctuation and sentence structure.

“All right,” you might say, “proper grammar, spelling and correct English aren’t the only signs of intelligence or fitness for being a law enforcement professional.”

I agree.

What about measurements of ethics, honesty, moral fibre, addiction, history of bullying or intimidation tactics used on weaker peers or others? Or, let’s check in on skill levels in key areas, such as problem-solving, decision-making, crisis response and management, communication (both listening and speaking), sensitivity and appropriateness with those unlike themselves: what do we find?

Abysmal performance across the board.

I am not the only one who believes we all need law enforcement officers’ predominantly low levels of skills and education to improve: “Research studies show that police officers with a college degree provide evidence of better overall job performance and better advancement opportunities then their colleagues without a college degree….[H]aving a college degree significantly reduces the likelihood that officers will use force as their first option when gaining compliance. The study also discovered evidence of officers with a higher education background also makes it more likely they will demonstrate the creativity and problem-solving skills needed to make a community-oriented policing model succeed.”
http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/why-education-is-crucial-for-modern-police-departments/law-enforcement-defense-security

It’s not just “one bad cop.” There are now too many in too many places to keep track. I can’t remember all their names; can you?

bad cop 1
image from http://www.sentrymedicalgroup.org

I strongly recommend that all policing entities implement my 5-Point Plan to Revamp USA #policing: qualifications, training, supervision and accountability as well as record-keeping, ASAP.

Who’s with me?

Even that bastion of conservative moderateness, The Huffington Post, claimed last month (via occasional columnist, Tim Arnold) that “America has lost its soul” attributable to objectionably poor policing.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/bad-cops/

Another Huff Post writer, Jerry Ashton, reported last October on the call for a “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.” This day will be “[o]verseen by the October 22 Coalition[.] [T]he action is expected to be a historic condemnation of the Department of Justice for its 19-year history of failures to collect and share statistics on the use of excessive force by police officers, even though this action was mandated by ‘The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,’ the largest crime bill in U.S. history.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-ashton/national-day-of-protest-to-stop-police-brutality_b_6021158.html

My “last straw” landed when I heard about NYC’s Police Department’s former employee, Louis Scarcella. Recently, NYPD disclosed that Scarcella had been operating fraudulently and as an extreme racist for DECADES, framing innocent black men by violently coercing and purchasing witnesses and confessions from the innocent. Dozens (probably hundreds) of other cops knew about Scarcella (many helped him do these heinous acts), but turned a blind eye.
http://thegrio.com/2015/01/14/louis-scarcella-nypd-wrongful-convictions/

Unfortunately, this type of story is not even front page news any longer. In city after city, state after state, dozens, hundreds, thousands of cops have been abusing their authority, overusing their weapons and harming citizens to the point of death.

We can all see that the systems of policing and many of the individuals employed by them have been dysfunctional and dangerous for over a hundred years. Did they ever work well anywhere at all?

Selma.
Detroit.
Police who HEAD the Ku Klux Klan.
Los Angeles.
St. Louis/Ferguson
New York City
and on and on, every metropolitan area.

Also, in almost every small town and unincorporated area, all over this country, law enforcement has been populated by a large number of former “jocks,” athletes past their glory days who did not go to college or barely made it through high school. These officers are not, by any stretch of the imagination, very capable or intelligent. Most of them have not been able to make well-considered decisions or have anyone else’s best interests at heart, particularly those they deem “other.”

bad cops 2
image from http://www.snapthepix.com

By what strange magnetic force are hundreds of thousands of these men drawn to careers in law enforcement, unsuitable as they are? How are they allowed to “graduate” from being their high schools’ resident bullies to earning money paid by our taxes to be community police? Most barely stop along the way to get any training as police, sheriffs, or marshals, excluding a possible stint in the US military (which makes EVERYTHING worse).

It is now very clear to most of us that law enforcement attracts a disproportionate number of bullies with short fuses who harbor racist and sexist beliefs and who exhibit a horrifying willingness to hurt those they are paid to protect.

There are many reasons for these officers to exhibit bad behaviors, but most do it to bolster their own pride and try to impress their buddies. These “public servants” are terrorizing their targets, many of whom have committed no crimes or may be guilt of very minor offenses.

Far from serving their communities, protecting as they are mandated to do, law enforcement officials are now seen as those who frequently catalyze public and individual resistance. These incidents, with the concomitant lack of oversight and judicial consequences, are tearing communities apart.

A vast number of individuals work within our corrupt legal systems to prop up and support bad law enforcement. “Not Guilty” verdicts abound, giving them license to continue their horrendous behaviors. We repeatedly see manifestations of poor discernment by the decisions of jurors and judges when these officers have clearly broken multiple laws. Our communities now also suffer by these leaders’ misdirecting jurors and other public “servants.”

We have too many police, sheriffs and marshals who are engaged in a reign of terror that has been escalating almost daily. What should we do about it?

Here is my 5-Point Plan to Improve USA Policing:

I. Better Background Checks.

II. Better Training.

III. Better Supervision.

IV. Better Accountability.

V. National Databases.

I. Better Background Checks.
I.- A. Refuse jobs in law enforcement to any candidates who have a history of bullying.
We do NOT want to give bullies weapons, authority and clout, ever again. Check school records, arrests and reports, even those for which complaints and accusations did not result in convictions or disciplinary action. Charges that are made but repeatedly dropped or “forgiven” are the telltale signs of successful serial abusers. Look for Restraining Orders. Check school detention and suspensions records. Check military records.

Remember how the Assistant Principal was always threatening that a bad behavior incident would go on our “permanent record” when s/he was trying to deter us? That threat was supposed to make us quake with fear and inspire us to change our ways. Well, THIS is a perfect use, an appropriate application of the contents of that permanent school record.

I.- B. Refuse jobs in law enforcement to any candidates who have a questionable psychological, biological or social history.
Public servants cannot belong to hate groups or who have engaged in behavior that encourages others to participate in hate crimes, harassment, threats or assault based on ethnicity, religion, assumed sexual orientation, age, occupation, disability or other differences, gendered appearances or creed.

Check all the places these records might exist, including the “permanent record” from secondary schools, social media’s and websites’ postings, rosters of memberships in groups and clubs. Check military records, colleges disciplinary actions, any accusations and dropped charges.

Expunge the candidates who do not come up “clean.”

THEN give “clean” candidates a thorough psychological assessment designed to weed out any who harbor such beliefs but who have not yet been acting on them or haven’t yet been caught in the act.

They should also be screened for tendencies to be or actual problems with being alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves, extortionists and other types of criminals as well as for vulnerability to being bribed or unduly influenced.

Police come into daily contact with stolen money, illegal drugs, underage and vulnerable sex workers and a variety of other “tempting” opportunities to behave badly. We must have police who can resist temptation, who are not already addicts, and who do not have the types of personalities that would ever lead them to believe that they are “above the law.”

II. Better Training.
II.- C. Prepare rookies more realistically for what they will face in the field. Rookies should always be accompanied by veterans with good records until they have faced, together, at least two of every type of common incident. If that means longer probation or training periods, so be it.

We should NEVER AGAIN have a cop on patrol who is not up to an appropriately high standard. Why do we ever have police who can’t tell the difference between a toy gun and a real one, who can’t admit when a potential suspect is NOT dangerous and leave them be, who harass someone playing music to the point of injury, who can’t determine when someone is legally blind or hearing impaired, who mistake his/her own gun for a taser, who abuse suspects, and who tamper with witnesses and evidence?

II.- D. Include anger management and extensive therapy as part of the training and ongoing support for officers.
These therapies and group or one-on-one educational sessions must occur at least once a week for a year, at their own expense (via health insurance and/or job training funding) as part of every type of law enforcement rookie’s training requirements. There should also be mandatory “check-ups,” and not just when a cop kills someone or seems to have obvious PTSD or “anger problems.”

Therapy, whether or not they show symptoms of needing it, should be an annual occurrence. Every law enforcement officer at every level should have at least three sessions/year.

If community police are not feeling angry, they’re not paying attention. It’s managing the anger that is at issue, not feeling the emotion.

Making both of these mandatory will weed out the psychopaths and sociopaths within the first twelve months because those candidates either will not agree to participate or will fail the therapeutic portions of the training and ongoing support.

Whoever fails in either of these (where “success” is to be determined by the credentialed leaders/therapists responsible for conducting these sessions) can never be hired as law enforcement. No extensions, no re-takes, no possibility of moving to another locale and starting over.

See V. National Databases, below.

III. Better Supervision.
III.- E. Hold supervisors accountable for their underlings’ mistakes.
Enforce this by making supervisors accountable for decisions that release rookies from probation/ ride-along status (see II, above) so that none is released “too soon” (as evidenced by making too many “rookie” mistakes) without there being repercussions upon the releasing supervisor.

III.- F. Make sure every officer and supervisor is consistently and reliably evaluated.
Written and in-person discussions of the written evaluations should occur without fail at least twice each year for veterans and monthly for rookies for the first 6 months or more, then bimonthly until they are no longer rookies.

Poor evaluations must have immediate, serious consequences. Officers who do poorly must be demoted or have their duties re-assigned until they show substantial improvement within a given time frame. Some must resign/be fired, depending upon how badly they do and how many bad evaluations they have had without improvement.

Guidelines for all of this must be clearly spelled out and followed.

IV. Better Accountability.
IV.- G. Harsher and more permanent penalties must be enacted for officers who break the rules and laws and/or who do not follow procedures and policies properly.
By the time they are released from rookie probation (see II), officers must be immediately and permanently held accountable. Possibly like this: ONE SERIOUS STRIKE and they’re out.

Examples: If they turn off their body or dashboard cameras or do not check to make sure the equipment is working prior to going on a call or on patrol, they are fired. If they are threatening to anyone for no legal reason, harassing and/or harming them, they are fired. If they break laws, do not follow procedures, interfere with fellow officers’ duties, steal or tamper with evidence or incur other serious charges, they are fired.

IV.- H. Reprimands and Sanctions Must Be Strict.
The type of work law enforcement officers do cannot allow for serious mistakes in judgment to happen without having the consequences of strict sanctions and reprimands.

What about like this? One such lapse or error results in temporary restriction or demotion.

If two or three lapses/errors in judgment occur, they’re docked in pay and the demotion is moved to long-term. If these occur twice in any 6-month period, they’re fired.

If these occur twice in any two -year period, they’re put on temporary restriction or demoted, with changes pending results of an investigation to determine fitness for duty.

IV.- I. Supervisors and Department Heads/Chiefs are Responsible for Departments’ Outcomes and Statistics
If outcomes are poor (meaning, officers are behaving in ways that get them sanctioned, reprimanded, arrested, fired and/or jailed, disproportionately to those in comparable geographic/demographic areas) for any six-month period, that manager is demoted or fired.

If poor stats occur in any other 6-month period within two years in that same department under new management, the manager and his/her supervisor are both fired.

V. National Databases.
V.- J. Develop and maintain national databases.
We must do better at collecting data. All individuals’ attempts at being hired in law enforcement must be centralized.

All actions of individuals working in law enforcement while hired must be tracked.

Every departments’ outcomes and patrol statistics must be logged and searchable.

V.- K. Data must be available to the public and to all types of law enforcement. Transparency is key. This occurs via body and dashboard cameras with both audio and video components and frequent checks of said equipment.

All data entry must be supervised and checked regularly.

Most importantly, what should already always be happening, is that good cops and others doing a good job who work in law enforcement should NOT hide, protect or collude with those colleagues who should be fired or jailed.

Bad cop 3

There are many sectors that do/do not support excellence in law enforcement officers. My post, here, recommends improvements in some key areas, but not all. Let others research and recommend further changes to address areas I have left out, please.

bad cops 4
from http://www.slideshare.net/icjia/il-exec-training2012pptfinal

#Feedback please: What is my #brand?

#Feedback please: What is my #brand as an #author of The Spanners Series ebooks, talk-show host (CHANGES) and #blogger?

Branding_author-brand-venn
image from http://www.booksandsuch.com

Labels, adjectives, phrases, experiences all welcomed! How do you know me? How well? Where do we usually cross paths? How do we interact?

Send to sallyember AT yahoo DOT com and/or leave your impressions in COMMENTS, here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

All part of the “30-Day Podcasting Challenge” exercises, which start today, 1/19/15:
http://podcastingsuccesssecrets.com/

podcast-challenge-3S

Thanks!

Author-Branding-Book-Marketing-Plan-Author-Platform
image from http://www.bookcovercafe.com

WOW! UFO releasing glowing orbs into a formation in Western Massachusetts

If this is edited, I’m still impressed. If it’s real, COME FURTHER WEST, please! USA MO 63141! #UFO sighting in Western Massachusetts, USA!

This and That

If this hasn’t been doctored then… WOW!! Really good footage! Link to the article is under the video.

http://www.sott.net/article/291448-UFO-releasing-glowing-orbs-into-a-formation-in-Western-Massachusetts

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Call for Submissions: Issue 6 of Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly

#Submissions #authors #scifi #romance Check this out! Follow the link for more info and deadline.

SFRQuarterly_issue1_coverLength: 2,000 to 7,500 words.

Payment: 2.5 cents/word (US) paid upon publication, promotional biography with two links, and a complimentary quarter-page advertisement.

Deadline for Issue #6: 28 February, 2015.

Rights sought: Six-month exclusive world digital rights from date of publication; non-exclusive thereafter.

Other info: One short story will be published per issue. Please send only edited and polished work. Due to time constraints, we are unable to give personalized feedback on rejected stories.

Stories that tie-in to a previously established world will be considered, but story must stand alone.

All sub-genres of science fiction will be considered.

Any heat level, from sweet to erotic, will be considered. Original, previously unpublished fiction only. No fan fiction, please.

All stories must contain elements of science-fiction, include romance, and have an upbeat ending.

No multiple submissions. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please inform us if the story is placed elsewhere.

Submit! Standard manuscript…

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Jerry Wills, part 1, International UFO conference, Bergen, Norway 2014

Reblogging to watch some time soon. I didn’t even know there was an International UFO conference. Did you?

This and That

Very interesting! Jerry talks about way more than UFO’s. I put links to part 2, Jerry’s radio show, and both his websites under the video.

http://xpeditions.tv/
http://www.jerrywills.com/
Radio Friday 7 PM PT.http://jerrywillsshow.com/
Jerry Wills part 2, International UFO conference Bergen, Norway 2014 (http://youtu.be/HEs9XY4yExs)

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Preliminary Glossary for The Spanners Series

This is a repost from 8/27/13, since so many new readers are finding The Spanners Series, especially This Changes Everything, Volume I, after its PERMAFREE status began 4/1/14 and have asked for a Glossary.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
FREE everywhere ebooks are sold. All links, reviews, author interviews, readings and more: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners Look right; scroll down.

In the back of each Volume, I do update and add to the Glossary, but here you go:

As explained by Esperanza Enlaces, sometime narrator, Journalist and Media Liaison for Chief Communicator, Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D. [See “The Dark Side” for other terms and explanations not found here]

ALT = According to Linear Time. Use to explain temporal sequences as opposed to simultaneous nowness, and the use of past or future tense in verbs.

APC = After Public Contact. APC becomes “AppCee,” whose logofication becomes a stylized English “A” superimposed over a lower-case “c.” Vocalize as “AppCee.”

BPC = Before Public Contact (see APC, above). Vocalize as “BeepCee,” spell as “BeePCee.” Logofication is a stylized English “B” over a lower-case “c.”

CC or CeeCee = Chief Communicator. Main Earth Liaison selected by the MWC (Many Worlds Collective) to relay information and be the unofficial leader APC during the Transition and then official Leader for the Member once the MWC membership is established, for a limited term. Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D., is Earth’s first CC.

ESP Training = Excellent Skills Program education, with 12 levels of paranormal, psi, and extraordinary skills and abilities/talents, details depicted in Volume IV. All forms of what many human Earthers from Western cultures consider extrasensory, siddhis or yogic, in Eastern cultures, or psychic skills by many others, are included. ESP Training is mandatory for all CCs (Chief Communicators) and Officers or Psi-Warriors (see “The Dark Side” for list), and offered to many others APC (After Public Contact).

fish = IntraPlanetary Communication System. Also known as the Interspecies Communication System begins as a semi-acronym, “IntraPlanCS,” which morphs into “i-planCS,” which becomes “i-planX,” and then logofies into a slanted, stylized “i-“ beside an “X,” which Zephyr Branon names the “ifish,” and then simply the fish. (Thanks to Douglas Adams’ five-volume “trilogy,” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which he introduces multi-language, internal translators called “Babel fish.”)

iD and Access = Individual Access technology. Gives Earthers Access to all information, links, media via one’s own internal Access point or iD to the MWC Resource Library. Symbol is just the slanted “i” leaning onto a very fat “D,” pronounced “eye-Dee,” with the emphasis on the first syllable instead of the second, not to be confused with “Eye-Dee,” for “ID,” emphasis on the second syllable, which still means personal identification for many MWC-ers.

IGC = InterGalactic Council. Governing body of the MWC (Many Worlds Collective), whose reports, Implementations, adjudications and decisions appear in most of these Volumes.

MWC = Many Worlds Collective. Interplanetary association of all sentient beings in the multiverse. Membership is voluntary, to an extent, and usually by issued invitation preceded by many informal and perhaps secret visits/contact over a specified period of time, resulting in the selection and training of a Chief Communicator for that Member (Earth’s first CC is Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D.).

mwcw = Many Worlds Collective Webview. Also called the ‘verse web, or just the verse. Similar to the Earth’s Internet from the 20th – 21st Centuries, but interplanetary. iDs Access (see above) information from the mcwc, mostly.

Re-set = Changing a timeline’s circumstances, outcomes, or trajectory by focusing on the events’ “previous” “fork” and then changing a pivotal circumstance, choice, decision that precedes or coincides with that fork. A Re-set allow all “future” (ALT, or According to Linear Time) events to unfold slightly and perhaps quite differently, from that fork “onward.” Beings who have the ability (very advanced in the ESP [Excellent Skills Program] training, levels 11 or 12) may focus on a multiverse “fork” and allow for alternate timeline(s) to emerge for experiential, educational or actual living purposes, then choose or collaboratively select which timeline to make primary.

Return and Reinvolvement = A sentient being’s consciousness is separate from its physical form and therefore may be released (“die”) at any time. If the consciousness is going to take physical form again, there are several possible options. The heart/mind may be constrained to Reinvolvement (must become newly incarnated or “born” into a physical form, often a similar species form, due to lessons unlearned or karma unfinished; usually do not retain memories and may lose skills and abilities depending on karma). The heart/mind is eligible to choose to Return (become incarnated with full retention of previous memories, skills, abilities, in order to be helpful to current beings; may change forms from previous depending on need). The heart/mind remains free of physical form for the rest of its awareness, blending with oneness for those who do not incarnate.

<strong>Snap = used to describe the sound and the action of bringing an object to oneself using telekinesisl also, a general term for the sound and effect of using other ESP (Excellent Skills Program) skills.

Spanners = Earthers who are alive as the century turns from twentieth to twenty-first, especially those who live almost equal numbers of our lives’ years in both centuries. Also, all those who are alive both before and after the Transition (see below). For a longer description of all that Spanners signify, see Volume I.

Timult and Timultaneity = Noun/verb, adjective. The act of intentionally viewing, being aware of, knowing of events, people or possibilities occurring in more than one timeline; also, that these multiple timelines exist and have varying circumstances. Terms invented/coined by Zephyr Branon. Also, timulting and other verb forms exist.

final cover print

Timulters = Beings who can perceive more than one timeline’s occurrences among the multiverse. Dr. Clara Branon is the first known intentional timulter who has no ESP (Excellent Skills Program) training for her first timults, beginning when she is a child.

Transition = first 5 – 10 Earth years APC (After Public Contact) with the MWC (Many Worlds Collective) for Earthers.

Two in three weeks! “Versatile #Blogger #Award” also landed here!

versatile blogger award

Thanks, Inger D. Kenobi, upcoming guest for Episode 20 on 2/4/15 of CHANGES, and my sangha sister, for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I am so honored!

Here is her posting with all Inger’s nominations:
http://theviridescentconsumer.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/the-viridescent-consumer-receives-the-versatile-blogger-award-fist-pump-mandatory/

The rules are:

  • Show the award on your blog.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 blogs.
  • Link to your nominees’ blogs and let them know.

I am going to take the title of this award literally and nominate those whose blogs are versatile and fascinating (to me, of course):

Seven MORE things most people do not know about me…

  1. My first languages were Yiddish (no longer fluent, though) and English. I also speak/know Spanish as well as some Italian, German, French, Tibetan and Sanskrit.
  2. I won a competition and represented my school on the balance beam in 6th grade and continued to work the beam until I wrecked my ankle during a poorly spotted dismount in 10th grade. This injury prevented me from trying out for cheerleading as well, which greatly improved my intellectual and artistic lives and friendships.
  3. I have a negative physical reaction to roller coasters and anything mechanical that carries people to or across high places (ferris wheels, trams, ski lifts) which includes some acrophobia.
  4. I read about 1000 words/minute unless the text is very dense or complicated.
  5. I have some friends still in my life whom I’ve known since we were 5 years old. We are now 60.
  6. My first role in a play was in Kindergarten. I was cast as the rabbit. The day before the play, I sprained my ankle (not the same one as above), so my mother brought me to school in a red wagon (we lived across the street from the school) and I hopped my way through my part: best method acting ever.
  7. My grandmother (may she enjoy TV in the ether), my mother, and I have all spent way too much time watching a long-running USA soap opera, Days of Our Lives. Knowing this, one of my sort-of-stepchildren gave me a mug with the DOOL logo on it which I recently gifted to my mother.

Dear #Indie #Authors: If You Don’t Want an Honest #Review, Don’t Ask Me to Write One

AuthorsWarning
image from: http://www.pieceofcakepr.com

If You Don’t Want an Honest Review, Don’t Ask Me to Write One

Some background…
I’m an educator and an editor: I don’t mean to be harsh, but I have a red pen in my mind when I read. Can’t turn it off. Is every piece of my own writing perfect? Not by a long shot. HOWEVER, my proofreading skills, grammar-checking and spelling are excellent, particularly when applied to others’ writing.

I used to teach English writing, grammar and spelling. I have worked as an editor, proofreader and paid writer. I also used to teach kids, teens and adults, all grades, many subjects, pre-Kindergarten through graduate school, including English to Speakers of other Languages (ESL) and literacy/numeracy to adults with severe learning disabilities. I used to train/supervise and evaluate student teachers and classroom teachers. I have a B.A., master’s and doctorate in education, specializing in multicultural and teacher education.

I have had nonfiction, articles, poetry, and short fiction published and plays produced prior to self-publishing my sci-fi/romance ebooks. I write The Spanners Series‘ ebooks intentionally in the present tense, BTW, which confounds many readers and reviewers until they understand the reasons.

Degrees are no guarantee of excellence in any area, as we all know, nor is quantity of publications any indication of quality. My education and experiences are important to note, however, for background.

As a reader: I used to read about 10 books PER WEEK for dozens of years, mostly fiction. Now I read less, but mostly fiction, with some select nonfiction and recently, online pieces and blogs.

I know some stuff.

Really.

Current state of my life…
I’m also very busy. I rarely even agree to attempt a review because I’m so busy.

I’m therefore justifiably extremely picky about what I choose to read and even pickier about what I decide to review.

So, if I agree to review your book but I find that it is not well-written, not carefully edited or proofread, or otherwise NOT going to be getting a stellar review from me, I first will email you and explain my criticisms. Sometimes, I will do your critique in detail, at no small loss to my own writing time, because I truly wish to be helpful. I might not even be able to finish your book; it could be that bad.

negative-reviews-image
image from http://www.brookeharrison.com

When I review your book and it’s not very good news for you…
I will tell you that I usually get paid $100 for these kinds of critiques. I am not joking. I am also not extorting you, just making a point and asking for you to share the wealth, if you ever have any. Paypal button is on my website. You can donate $1, out of respect.

Because, if I do deign to finish your book (because your bad writing and many mistakes hurt my eyes, you should realize that I am doing you a HUGE favor to keep reading under those circumstances; imagine a musician having to listen to someone sing who is tone-deaf!), be amazed. If I further agree to review your flawed tome, the FIRST proper response from you, the author, is: THANK YOU, Sally.

Negative reviews can be helpful

How you could best react to my comments about your book…
If you are serious about being a writer and intend to continue, you should express your eagerness to consider my critique carefully. Think about how you can try to make corrections, do revisions, improve in the future. Do SOMETHING that makes me believe that I haven’t wasted my time.

If you have received only positive reviews up to this point while my criticisms are warranted and accurate, then your other “reviewers” have a very poor professional “eye” or are lying to you to “spare your feelings.” They did you a grave disservice and misled you horribly.

That is not my fault. I am pointing this out so you’ll know whose opinions to trust.

Do not hide behind those “good” reviews and do not make excuses. Do not whine about being “new” or “inexperienced.” Do not complain to me that you did not have enough money to hire an editor or proofreader, so you did it yourself or used your cousin.

If your book is not ready for publication, DO NOT PUBLISH IT. Really.

Honestly: I have given this a lot of thought before I tell you that your book is not currently good enough to merit a positive review. I give you my professional reasons for assigning your book its low rating.

What not to do when you get my email…

  • Do not call me names. (Seriously?)
  • Do not act as though I have offended you personally by critiquing your writing professionally.
  • Do not tell me you have now gone to read my book or my reviews (but not before this???) and have determined from your brief perusal (my books are over 130K words or 300 pages long) that you do not respect me or my writing and, therefore, can ignore what I’m telling you.
  • Do not tell me not to contact you and then keep emailing me or following my blog, posting about my review on YOUR blog and “calling me out” as a bad reviewer or writer, just to make yourself feel better. Your behavior is beyond appalling. You ASKED ME FOR A REVIEW, remember?
  • Do not trot out your credentials, degrees, numbers of previously published and much-loved books: I do not care. I am reading THIS one and reviewing THIS book and only this book, and my assessment stands.
  • Do not tell me how much more you know than I do about_______________(fill in the blank). That is not relevant. This is not a competition. If you actually know that much about good writing but did not apply it to this book adequately, get going to do it better next time instead of wasting your energy deriding me for noticing all the ways that you did not apply your knowledge well in this book.
  • Do not position yourself as my enemy, my judge or my combatant. What is your purpose in doing that? If my honest review of your book inspires you to denigrate me, a fellow author who donated her time and expertise to try to help you write better, there is a lot wrong with your approach to seeking and receiving reviews that I do not have the time or interest in detailing here.

News flash: Every negative review is NOT to be dismissed cavalierly by your declaration that your book “is not for everyone,” although some reviewers’ opinions certainly can be dismissed in that way. If I took the time to read and review your entire book (and almost always, I do NOT), then I thought (I hoped) that I would like your book. By definition, that means your book was written for me.

What’s true about me and you…
I am not a “troll.” I am not being unfair. I am not “slamming” you or your book. I take no pleasure in having to write a negative or mixed review. I agonize over what I know will hit you hard, especially if you have been surrounded by people telling you, sometimes for years, how great your writing is. Your writing might be entertaining, interesting or creative, and I probably already told you that. Great it is not.

I am an ethical, hard-working author who occasionally tutors writing, edits or proofreads (for money) and writes reviews (rarely, and always for free). If I mention to you that I do this for money, the “this” is not reviewing, it is my tutoring writers and editing. By taking the time not just to offer a review, but to email you (more than once, sometimes) and converse with you about specifics and ways you could improve, mistakes you made, recommendations I’m making, I have now ventured into the arena of work I usually get paid to perform.

I tell you that not to extort money from you, but to let you know that, if you find my insights valuable and you ever have “extra” money, I’d appreciate a donation that recognizes my having GIVEN you my professional expertise, having gone above and beyond what reviewers usually do. It’s an opportunity to respond with courtesy, not a requirement.

I respect most other authors tremendously. However, I am not reviewing your ideas or taking into account your desire for success, however strong they may be. I am professionally reviewing your book, author to author, editor to author, proofreader to author, educator to author.

If I have reviewed your book and you are dissatisfied with my opinions, suggestions or corrections, I strongly recommend you let it go. I will not engage with you beyond providing my critique. I do not want to get into a “flame war,” bloggers’ conflict, take sides, or other such middle-school-era nonsense.

I have writing to do.

If you are too thin-skinned (read: unprofessional), not ready, not willing to improve, AND, if you don’t know enough to respect my opinions and experience much less my expertise, so that, really, you do not want my honesty, DO NOT ASK ME TO REVIEW YOUR BOOK.

Please.

Ask your cousin.

Ask an Author

Bring your burning questions to my fellow author, Nicholas Rossis’, monthly feature, “Ask an #Author”!

Write of Passage

If you have a question about writing, the right person to ask is another writer. Once a month I’ll be featuring writers who put the author in authoritative.


book-photo-nr-500My first author is writer, avid reader, and blogger Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series, and children’s books, all of which have repeatedly reached #1 on Amazon. : )

My sister and I have asked Nicholas for advice many times, so naturally he was the first person I contacted to share advice with my readers.

Nicholas is an author who is always eager to give free advice, encouragement, and books–that’s right books. I noticed Nicholas has a lot of success with giveaways and special offers, so I asked him to share the benefits of giving away books for free.


Just Give it Away: Does Free Work?

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books From timashton.org.uk

I keep reading contradictory information on this. One of my blogging friends…

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RRBC Awards: we won!

Mazel Tov to Nicholas Rossis! A much deserved set of awards! Want to know more about Nicholas and his books? Watch our LIVe conversation on Episode 7 of *CHANGES*: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

Nicholas C. Rossis

Remember how I had asked you to vote for my blog in the Rave Reviews Book Club awards? Well, you did it! My blog won first place in the Best Blog category, and my On the Shelf interview won second place!

Surprisingly enough, these were not the only awards I won, as I also won second place for most creative tweets. This is probably because I follow MM Jays’ excellent advice on Showing, not Telling, when tweeting.

That’s not all, though: Just before the year’s end, both Dale Furse and Sally Sue Ember very kindly nominated my blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. I’m speechless by their kindness and generosity. I still have to answer 7 questions about me and nominate 15 bloggers for the award. I promise to do so soon, but this is just to thank both these lovely girls!

For those who don’t…

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Young Blood Fixes Old, Reversing the Aging Process: The End of Independence

In one video clip of an annual summary of scientific discoveries for 2014, the narrator calmly stated this astonishing description and conclusion from research conducted this past year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjrt0hcv4Qk), using the headline Young Blood Fixes Old:

Scientists stitched [!?!] two [living] mice together, one young, one old, connected their circulatory systems. The connection rejuvenated the brain and the muscle of the older mouse. It appears young blood contains a factor that can turn back the clock on the aging process.

stem-cell-aging-info
image from http://www.regenexx.com

Exactly how long do you think older, wealthier humans are going to wait before purchasing, enslaving and continuing to exploit younger humans in even more ways, including keeping them STITCHED to their bodies just to utilize their young blood to reverse their own aging???

I am nauseated.

Oh, sure. Scientists could isolate this “factor” and package only that.

But, where will this blood-borne factor be obtained? Exactly how legal, voluntary and frequent (or ongoing!?!) will the processes be for arranging for the young blood donors to fulfill ever-increasing requests for portions (how much?) of their blood?

We already have illegal and questionably-legal markets and practices for:

  • organs that can be transplanted, in whole or in part, preserving the donor’s life or not;
  • fertilizable human eggs;
  • gestational wombs;
  • siblings conceived to be organ donors for a needy sibling;
  • sexual surrogates (underaged or legal-aged sex slaves of both sexes).

Are you shuddering at the implications of this research, yet? Young people on this planet who have less power and wealth to protect them than those elders who wield power and money like weapons already, should RUN!

mouse-effect-circulation-young-blood
image from http://scitechdaily.com

Read Susan Young Rojahn’s May 9, 2014, article, Can Compounds in Young Blood Fix Aging?
Animal studies on the revitalizing power of young blood suggest new drug targets for treating conditions like dementia and heart disease
, which summarizes several research studies and their implications, then read the quotes, below.
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527146/can-compounds-in-young-blood-fix-aging/

Based on Wagers’s new and previous results, the Boston-area venture capital firm Atlas Venture has started a still-unnamed company. Wagers’s previous findings caught the eye of the VC firm in 2013, and the new results “increased the excitement for the role of GDF11 in aging,” says partner Peter Barrett. “Now it’s the blocking and tackling of trying to understand what would be the best therapeutic approach to make this a commercial product.”

The wealthier, more powerful of the elders will soon be able to co-opt young blood to keep them from aging. What will stop them?

One of the Stanford researchers, Tony Wyss-Coray, has cofounded a biotech company called Alkahest to test the therapeutic potential of his group’s findings.

bring me blood
image from http://imgur.com

If you’re not terrified, you’re not paying attention.

Giving Kids Their Future: Why We Need Science Fiction For Kids

Ursula K. Le Guin is NEVER wrong, never boring, never shy AND she’s creative, brilliant and unique, still writing in her 80s and still appealing to readers of ALL ages. Gotta love her.

Views From the Tesseract

I’m going to kick this post off with a quote from Ursula Le Guin’s speech at the National Book Awards.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Hard times are coming.  Some would say hard times are here.  The media tends to promote the idea.  The future looks big and scary with a lot of doomsayers in our midst.  And kids get an earful of it. . . and an eyeful.  The media gives them great heaping gulps of the awfulness going on . . . and the awfulness we might be headed into.

It’s not a complete…

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12 Tips on How NOT to host a 30-minute #Podcast, #Radio Show or #Google+/#Youtube #HOA

12 Tips on How NOT to host a 30-minute #Podcast, #Radio Show or #Google+/#Youtube #HOA

Based on my having attended, listened to and/or watched many such shows in the past eighteen months that could have been SO MUCH BETTER, I give you this list of DON’Ts:

  1. Do not waste your show’s time. That means you cannot spend the first 5 or more minutes reading the names of everyone who is attending when you only have 30 minutes for your show. I know there is a prevailing “wisdom” that “everyone likes to hear their name said,” but, honestly: when you have dozens or hundreds of viewers and only 30 minutes, it’s just not practical or useful for your overall broadcast. Furthermore, audience members can go to the event page and see everyone’s names for ourselves, in most cases. Similarly, don’t spend time making announcements you can post. If you only have a few watchers and/or want to engage with some because they comment or ask questions, PLEASE do that instead (see #2, below).

    G+ 3 Cs
    image from: http://dialmformarketing.co

  2. Do not ask for audience engagement and then neglect to engage. If you request comments and questions on the show page or on Twitter and then take up all your show’s time chatting with your guests while neglecting to respond to any of the posted comments or questions, that is unconscionable. If you’re not going to/can’t manage your time or engagement better (see #3), don’t manage it yourself. Get someone else to do it. Or, if you’re not serious about engaging, do a broadcast-only format.
  3. Do not suddenly notice that you have mismanaged your brief show time too late (see #1 & #2). If you do, do not try to rectify your having ignored most of your participants by spending the last few minutes reading the names of those who commented/asked questions rather than responding to one or more with the remaining minutes. Consider this: wouldn’t YOU rather have a question or comment responded to than hear a list of 30 names?
  4. Do not make your audience feel unwelcome. This happens when you chit-chat with your guests, telling “in” jokes, discussing people you know but whom many of your participants may not and then deride anyone who doesn’t understand your jokes or know the people you refer to in your conversation. In addition to showing disrespect and wasting valuable time, you give viewers/listeners the perspective of you as one of those hosts who insults and ignores your participants.

    BTR mike
    image from: http://alimattu.com

  5. Do not ignore the title/topic of your show Do not discuss some minor point tangentially related to it for most of your time, then briefly spend about 3 minutes on the stated topic near the end when there is insufficient time to address it. You are training your audience not to trust you or your content when your show does not deliver the content as promised by its title. It is also not useful or professional to promise a sizable chunk of content via your title and then realize mid-show that your promise is unable to be kept because that chunk is too large. Your show can’t possibly handle a topic of that size in 30 minutes. Even worse is to use your content and time mismanagement ploy as a rationale to get the audience members to purchase your______________ (fill in the blank with “webinars,” “books,” “services,” etc.). NOBODY likes “bait-and-switch” tactics.
  6. Do not make incomplete references. Do not mention to your participants your or others’ past shows’ guests or topics without informing them of WHY you’re mentioning them. If you want viewers/listeners to know something, start at the beginning or give us the URL (see #9). We may be new to you or your shows. Assume nothing.
  7. Do not start late. You insult us, waste our time, and train us not to trust you. Tech issues aside, many hosts habitually start late. If the show is live, please be on time or find a way to post a note as to the proposed delayed starting time and a reason for the delay.

    On Air sign
    image from: http://www.audiblemarketing.com

  8. Do not make jokes that only you and your guests understand or find funny (see #4). This is terrible, particularly when they are unrelated to your topic/title of the show. We are not amused and you’re wasting OUR time. That kind of chat belongs in your Green Room time only.
  9. Do not provide incomplete or difficult-to-utilize resources. Do not just rattle off a URL, book title, author’s or expert’s name or other pertinent information without spelling it, slowing down to say it, AND putting it UP as a visual or on the event page for everyone to read and utilize fully. Many of us do not hear well, are not native English speakers, or didn’t think to have a pen handy and we will miss the reference completely.
  10. Do not assume everyone is always watching a video show. Do not refer to comments you do put up as visuals without reading the entire comment or summarizing it aloud, first. Some of us are not watching all the time as we’re listening. Also, if you start with a videocast and later want to convert your show(s) to a podcast, a lot will be lost or nonsensical if you don’t read out loud the comments and questions you’re utilizing.

    Hangout-Comment-Tracker
    image from: http://strategiccontentmarketing.co

  11. Do not try to squeeze 60 minutes of content and engagement into 30 minutes. Break it into two shows or curtail the topic/number of guests/engagement to fit the slot you have chosen to fill.
  12. Do not say “um,” “uh,” “well,” “you know,” etc., excessively and frequently. Practice removing these and other semi- or non-verbal interrupters and delayers from your speaking habits. If you really cannot do that, apologize in advance. It is very unprofessional as well as irritating to your viewers/listeners to have to wade through all that; quite a time-waster to boot, especially on a brief show. If you think you can edit all of those utterances “out” of the audio, good luck with that.

Because of my wanting to avoid some of the above problems and for many other reasons, each of my CHANGES Google+ HOA live Episodes is scheduled for 60 minutes. Even that often seems too short!

I hope this helps some of you who are hosting shows, especially if you’re fairly new to hosting, but even if you’re not. December 17, I finished my 16th Episode of CHANGES, but I had decades of training, practicing, performing, presenting and acting professionally that preceded this gig.

If you’re usually an audience member or sometimes a guest, empower yourself to share this list of “Don’ts” with hosts you believe might benefit from reviewing these tips to improve their shows. Most of these tips also apply to being a good guest, anyway.

Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time and leave your opinions, comments and questions or contact my guests directly (via the second URL, below, which provides each guest’s website):
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

CHANGES Theme Image_3

#Authors: Learn more about and get yourself on, or #Readers, recommend an author to be scheduled as a guest on my CHANGES G+ HOAs. Seeking guests for mid-February and beyond. Check the guidelines and schedule here:   
https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

The USA #Civil #Rights #Restorative #Justice Project needs YOUR information

SHARE! Help restore the actual history of USA atrocities, the genocide of blacks, especially men, in the USA South during the first half or so of the 20th century.

If you know of a “Jim Crow,” KKK, community- or personally instigated, racially motivated killing, any details, please contact the people in the Civil Rights Restorative Justice Project right away.

Scour letters, family diaries, journals, photographs, Bibles’ death records, anecdotes from those who were there.

Find out more: http://goo.gl/0Tuav1 = story on NPR

Send info and learn more about project: http://www.northeastern.edu/civilrights/
Northeastern University School of Law
400 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Email: crrj@neu.edu
Tel. 617-373-8243

crrj

How to Launch Your New Book: Everything I Know

“How to Launch Your New Book: Everything I Know” Excellent advice for #indie #authors, new or returning http://wp.me/p3H5j-11o thx http://Infinitefreetime.com

Welcome to infinitefreetime dot com

NewRules1(I’m going to be presenting these as Unquestionable Rules that Must be Followed.  Argue with me anyway.  Sometimes I’m very strident and wrong at the same time, especially if I think a general tone of Absolute Authority is funnier.  I am scheduling this to pop while I’m on the road, so feel free to yell at me in comments.)

So!

You have written a book.  Congratulations!  I am proud of you.  You have done something that you have probably wanted to do for a very long time and that many, many people have tried to do and failed.

Here is what to do next, so that when you publish your book, you have the greatest chance of your book making an impact.  Note my phrasing; it’s intentional: when YOU publish your book.  You’re not submitting your book to an agent or to a publishing company and waiting a year to get…

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Steampunk: Learning the Genre

Learn about #Steampunk,a subgenre of #scifi, from my upcoming *CHANGES* guest, Wendy van Camp! Watch our LIVE conversation 1/7/15: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cs3reovico2nqpvctdv1ikgqevg or catch our conversation any time then or later on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-OOvBXtGRM

No Wasted Ink

Nathan Fillion in Steampunk GarbA popular subgenre of science fiction and fantasy is known as steampunk. It features steam-powered technology with the decorative sensibilities of the 19th century Victorian era. Steampunk stories can also be considered a sort of alternate history where the British Empire continued on to be a major power in the world and their empirical style of culture and manners still hold sway in a future world.

It is often thought that the origin of steampunk as a genre began with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. The stories of the adventurer explorer or the gentleman inventor who travels through the world or in time via their abilities and education and bring British culture to other peoples is a trope that is common in many steampunk stories. While Wells and Verne were certainly part of the inspiration of steampunk as a genre, they were writing alternate history or true science fiction of…

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National #Science-Fiction Day is Today! Celebrate #Scifi #Authors

Woo-hoo! #Aliens, #Robots and more: Oh, My!
TODAY is National Science-Fiction Day! Who knew? An entire day to celebrate #sciencefictionwriters in honor of what may (or may not) be Isaac Asimov’s birthday!

Full post here: http://genrelove.co/2015/01/national-science-fiction-day/

azimiov.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scale
image from http://www.treehugger.com

http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners gets you all info and links about my sci-fi series.

ENJOY!

Farewells – Writers We Lost in 2014

Some very sad good-byes to some amazing writers whose authorship has influenced my life greatly. http://readerswritersjournal.com/2014/12/31/authors-who-died-in-2014/

readers+writers journal

2014 Saw the loss of several Nobel, Booker Prize and Pulitzer winners, as well as the passing of some of the most beloved authors in the English language.

Nadine-Gordimer-Quotes-2Nadine Gordimer 

Nadine Gordimer was a South African writer and activist whose works took on racially-charged themes, especially apartheid in her home country. Her famous novels include 1974’s The Conservationist, 1979’s Burger’s Daughter, 1981’s July’s People, and 1987’s A Sport of Nature. She also wrote numerous collections of short fiction and essays. Gordimer received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991.

 Gabriel-Garcia-Marquez-Quotes-1Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Nobel winner Marquez died from pneumonia at the age of 87 after years of declining health, which included being diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1999. García Márquez started as a journalist, and wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967),

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First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

Just completed my first full year (plus 11 days) as a published sci-fi/ romance ebooks author (2 pubs, Vol I, 12/19/13; Vol II, 6/9/14) in the 10-book The Spanners Series, on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, nook and Kobo (and Smashwords’ affiliates).

Thanks to all my readers, fans, followers, reviewers and downloaders as well as friends, family and connections in the global authors and readers communities!

Overall Stats, 12/31/13 – 12/31/14:
AZ Author Rank, overall: 182,741 – 468,671
AZ Kindle ebooks, all Combined Rank: 295,000 – 313,420
AZ Sci-fi/Fantasy ebooks Combined Rank: 23,167 – 25,127
AZ Sci-fi ebooks Combined Rank: 11,687 – 12,645
AZ Romance ebooks Combined Rank: 27,206 – 29,043

Sales Ranks and Stats:
Vol I, This Changes Everything (released 12/19/13; permafree since April 1, 2014)

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

figures for 12/20/13 – 12/31/14
Total Paid Sales: 85
Total Free Downloads: over 1,100 (figures for free DL not available from all sites)
AZ Sales Rank: 129,665 – 12,539
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: 481,550 – 471,792
Kobo: 1,429 – 8,732

AZ Actual Sales: 61
AZ Free Downloads: 940
Smashwords Sales: 4
Smashwords Free DL: 45
iBooks Sales: 6
iBooks Free DL: 85
Kobo Sales: 13
Kobo Free DL: 60
Nook Sales: 1
Nook Free DL: 8

Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever ($3.99, released 6/9/14)

final cover print

figures for 6/30/14 – 12/31/14 only
Total Paid Sales: 10
AZ Sales Rank: 480,464-1,559,867
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: unrated rank (not enough sales)
Kobo Sales Rank: 4,836 – 5,223
AZ Sales: 6
Smashwords Sales: 3
Smashwords Free DL: 12
iBooks Sales: 0
Kobo Sales: 1
Nook Sales: 0

ALWAYS appreciating REVIEWERS for both/any Volumes, especially Volume II/the newest.
Ebooks free to reviewers in any ereader format via coupon on Smashwords.
Contact: sallyemberATyahooDOTcom

Look for Vol III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, and
Vol IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, in 2015!

Thanks to my amazing cover artist for The Spanners Series, Aidana Willowraven

logoAuthorsDen

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Switch your USA Landline or Cell Phone Company to Support Great Causes! CREDO DOES!

CREDO (formerly Working Assets) has been donating a large portion of its profits and allowing customers (“Members”) to vote on where the profits are donated for decades.

I had been using WALD for my landline and then CREDO for my cell phone since the 1990s (WALD used to provide coupons for free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pints for every new customer I referred, so I referred a LOT!).

CREDO will:

  • buy out your contract
  • provide free or paid cell phone model options (Android only, of course)
  • actually provide English-speaking humans to talk to you from its 24-7 Customer Service
  • give you access to its great website
  • offer competitive prices.

Truly worth a switch. STOP supporting multinationals like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc., TODAY!

Make your phone bill work to help YOUR choice of nonprofits and good causes!

CREDO uses the Sprint network, so be sure that network operates well enough where you live before switching carriers.

For the end of 2014, CREDO sent this email (images below), which I hope inspires YOU to switch carriers.

CREDO Engaged_Voters_Panel1

CREDO Middle_Panel_1

CREDO Middle_Panel_2

CREDO Middle_Panel_3

I am NOT an “affiliate marketer,” and I am NOT getting paid (or even getting any ice cream) for promoting this.
It’s just the right thing to do. Please switch this month!