What I Learned About Pitching to an Agent at a Conference

Great tips for making a #pitch to anyone about anything, especially #authors.
Love the bouncing ball idea for pacing oneself.
Thanks for posting!


I recently pitched to a literary agent at a writing conference for the first time. I’m going to talk a little about what I learned from that experience, but first I want to share something about my experience with pitches in general.

I work for myself, which means I have the joy of going to networking events, where I meet a lot of other small business owners. And one of the excruciating things you have to do at these things is give a pitch in front of others, anywhere from 30-90 seconds (depending on the format) of your business.

And you can’t just say anything. You have to sex it up. You can’t just say, “I’m a divorce attorney”. Instead, you say something like, “I give my clients ease and comfort in their uncoupling process, protect what’s most valuable to them, and guide them in the next transition of their…

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Political Writings: Boycott Indiana!

I don’t believe in “hell,” but karma will out. Meanwhile, yes:
“Boycott Indiana businesses and groups that support these small-minded wretches.
“Find out if they are trying this in your own neck of the woods.
“Spread the word and fight back.”
Thanks for posting! FIGHT ON!

J. B. Garner - Musings of a Starving Author

I’ll keep this shorter and sweeter than most of my (sparse) political ramblings.

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and all of the close-minded, right-wing members of the Indiana legislative houses who made the Religious Freedom Restoration Act become law, you guys can go straight to Hell.  Oh, wait, I don’t need to say that, because your bigoted actions have already written you a one way ticket there.  Isn’t it great when my job gets done for me?

In an actual constructive aspect of this, let me say that, while not very impactful as I am one man, I will have nothing to do with any business that supports or enforces this law.  I would encourage everyone else, especially if they actually live in Indiana, to do the same.

The one positive take-away from the immediate aftermath of this horrible, despicable Act is that it is heartening to see such a…

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Cannabis Really Does Battle Cancer

The sad thing about this is that the research isn’t even new; the USA in particular has hidden and denied these positive outcomes for medical uses of #cannabis (and the dearth of negative outcomes for recreational use) for decades. Shameful.
Thanks for posting!

J. Giambrone


I was skeptical of all the claims, but more and more evidence is emerging:.

Study: Here’s How Cannabis Helps Your Body Fight Off Cancer

Researchers tested the effects of CBD, THC, and an endocannabinoid analogue called methanandamide on two lung cancer cell lines, A549 and H460, along with cells from a lung cancer patient. It found these compounds increased expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) on the cancer cells, which made them more susceptible to white blood cells called lymphokine-activated killer cells (LAK). However, normal cells were not affected this way, showing yet again that cannabinoids can selectively target abnormal cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.

Original study:

Cannabinoids increase lung cancer cell lysis by lymphokine-activated killer cells via upregulation of ICAM-1.

My Posts  |  Reblogs  |  Films

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Book Re-release: Heart Song by Sam LaFantasie

Mazel Tov to Samantha LaFantasie, who has guest blogged on my site, and thanks to Nicholas Rossis (guest blogger and *CHANGES* guest, too!) for announcing her newest #bookrelease!

Nicholas C. Rossis

I have a soft spot for Samantha LaFantasie, as she was the very first person to host an interview by your truly, back when this blog wasn’t even a twinkle in the Internet’s eye. She’s now re-releasing her fantasy novel, Heart Song.

Heart Song, you say?

Relena wants freedom, depending on herself and not having to answer to anyone, but a betrayal takes that away. The last thing she expected was the incredibly handsome Marren to free her.

The catch?

She has to fall in love with him, fulfill a prophecy involving their heart song, and rejoin the two realms. But Jiren, the last Ancient of his kind, isn’t convinced and will stop at nothing to maintain his throne, even if it means breaking their most sacred law.


I woke from a fitful sleep with a loud clap of thunder that shook the room. I sat up…

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Won’t Retweet, Won’t do Review Swaps, Won’t “Vote Up” Reviews: Why I Don’t Automatically Play Along with Many Writers’ Groups Anymore

Won’t Retweet, Won’t do Review Swaps, Won’t “Vote Up” Reviews:
Why I Don’t Automatically Play Along with Many Writers’ Groups Anymore

As Holly Near sings in her iconic relationship-gone-sour song, “Started Out Fine,” it “started out fine; we were moving ahead.” [Great song: go watch her sing it!]

Holly’s “Started Out Fine” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qhxkd6Gn0E

When I first decided to become an independent author and self-publish after having gone the trad route with nonfiction and made a few attempts to go the trad route for fiction, I knew next-to-nothing about the social media circus I was about to join. I was starry-eyed, optimistic, eager and trusting.

I would get reviewers. I would network. I would make online author friends. I’d become part of communities I would find online. Yippee!


Sure, I had a Facebook page, I had opened (and never used) a Twitter account, and I was listed on LinkedIn, for professional purposes (but hardly ever used it).


I had found Authonomy http://www.Authonomy.com and Wattpad http://www.Wattpad.com and decided to post excerpts on these sites, hoping to begin to get readers, reviewers, friends, colleagues.

My niece set up my first website, Sally Ember, Ed.D., and I began to “blog my book,” posting excerpts there and on Facebook for weeks prior to publication (catching up with both excerpts sites, above, before release day).

I researched and decided to go with Smashwords, first, with a pre-order period (several posts about Pre-orders are on my blog, http://www.sallyember.com), then publish to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) when my first ebook went live.

That was the entirety of my social media presence in the summer of 2013, a few months before I hit the “publish” button on my first of the ten volumes in The Spanners Series. Some of these endeavors resulted in my finding exactly what I was looking for: a community of indie and/or self-pub writers, many of whom were also somewhat new, volunteering to review, comment, enjoy my excerpts and then my book! I was so delighted and grateful!

Some of these new connections invited me into groups I’d previously been unaware of, but I happily became quite active in them, for a while. These groups had members who were (and ARE) so supportive, showing me a variety of ways to be involved in cross-promoting one another’s writing.

At first, it was all sunny skies and rainbows. My ebook was gaining visibility, I was making online friends, gaining more reviews and having a good time. Mutual respect, support, encouragement, laughs, tips, ideas and more were flowing around groups and quite helpful to me. I even had some to share back to them. Awesome…for a while.

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

The clouds rolled in all too soon. Has any of this happened to you?
“Sure! I’ll ReTweet [RT] glowing praise for your book(s) [even though I’ve never read anything you’ve written]!”

“Of course, if you read and review my book, I’d be delighted to read and review yours [until I read a few that were AWFUL!]!”

“Please be assured that, if you vote up my book’s good reviews on Amazon or my book on Goodreads’ Lists or put my book on your “shelves” on Goodreads, I’ll do the same for yours [even though… {PICK ONE: I’ve never read these other writers’ books OR I don’t like the genre and would never read them OR I have started to read them but couldn’t continue because they were AWFUL}]!”

“Oh, great! I’d love to be part of this ‘review each other’s blog’ swap. Oh, what? You’re assigning me to an erotica site when my brand is PG-13?!?!? No can do. Oh, it’s required? Oh, you’re now calling me names, like ‘prude,’ and telling me I’m being ‘judgmental’? ‘Bye, then.”

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

Struck by scolding/lightning one too many times, I dropped out each of those writers’ groups that had absurd or untenable “member responsibilities.” I eventually dropped out of all but a few groups.

Whew! Relieved!

<strong>My integrity has been restored by establishing for myself some great ground rules:
1) I am not on “Tweet teams” which require members to RT every and all Tweets.
2) I do not do “obligatory” reviews or “swaps.”
3) I do cross-promoting only after I’ve gotten to know/read and respect the other person and his/her writing enough to put my name on a public recommendation.
4) I don’t “vote up” any reviews or books unless I’ve read and agree with the votes.
5) I don’t vote for book covers or books for voting-related rewards unless I actually believe they deserve to win.

The best part of being “older but wiser, now” about how writers use social media? If you see my name on a book or blog review, a promotional Tweet, a shared or reblogged post, you can rest assured I believe in what I’m sharing/promoting.

When I haven’t read the work of the authors and don’t know their blog or them at all except as members’ names, I only share or RT general promotions for the GROUP. That’s the way I handle all that social media group cross-promotion pressure, now.

Also, when an individual requests any of the actions I now refuse to take, I gently let them know I don’t do those actions and some I send to the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) Ethical Code, which I signed and promote on my blog, GLADLY: http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/11/alli-launch-ethical-author-code.html Go read it. Sign it. Share it. We all should!


So, however you respect my taste and/or me, you can follow my recommendations or leads as you wish.

All the best to you!

Writing in the Present Tense: A Guest Post By Author Charles E. Yallowitz

To recognize simultaneous time (“timultaneity”) in “The Spanners Series,” ALL of it is written in the present tense, which confounds many readers and reviewers, until they get used to it. My biggest problem, after immersing myself in that for so many years, is reverting to using other tenses while blogging or talking! LOL
Best to you, Charles!

Part I: Letter to my Earlier Self, What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2

Part I: Letter to my Earlier Self, What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2

This was originally posted on 11/24/14 as a Guest Blogger on http://www.thebookcove.com/2014/11/author-sally-ember-edd-what-i-wish-i.html, when I was still writing Vol III and before I had written enough of these posts to make a series of “Open Letters.”

Now, there is a series, and I am re-posting them in order, one per week.
(The Book Cove posted one per week, November through December.)
This is Letter One of four, total.

As I get ready to release Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in my sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian The Spanners Series, I consider what I wish I had known for ebooks 1 and 2 of this series, my first launch and second foray into being an indiepub author after having been traditionally published.

I decided to write a series of letters to my pre-publication self, since I believe in simultaneous time. I know that this letter and all the subsequent ones are already written and I am already reading them before I publish Volume I, This Changes Everything, and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever. I’m sharing this information with the public here (again).

Follow that? It helps to be a sci-fi or quantum physics fan, for sure.

Here is Part I of my tips for my earlier self and therefore, all new indie authors who are about to publish their first ebook (or even afterward). There will be a series of such letters advising myself. I need a lot of help!

I appreciate the The Book Cove Reviews for allowing their blog to be the place these letters first appear. My tips had a chance to reach a much wider audience on that site. I hope many budding and newer indie authors besides my earlier self found them helpful when these letters were first published last fall, 2014!

What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2:
An Open Letter to my Earlier Self

Part I

Dear Earlier Sally,

So, here you are, in December, 2011, writing your first sci-fi novel. You don’t know, yet, that you’re going to become an “indie” author, or even what that is.

Let’s recap what a sorry state you’re in, as an author, and see what, if anything, we can do to rectify this ignorance that could short-circuit your incipient writing career.

  • You still think you’re going to write query letters, try to find an agent, seek a publication “house” and become a published author the way you’ve seen it happen with your previous nonfiction books and countless others’ fiction books. You haven’t even considered not having a print book and haven’t even read or seen an ebook at this point. You have no idea how much this industry is about to BOOM!

    ebook sales to 2013

  • In fact, even though you’ve heard of Kindles and other ereaders, you’ve never seen one and don’t know anyone who owns or uses one, yet. You’ve never heard of or seen anything about Google+, “author platforms,” or blogging by authors. You think those who blog are self-centered, boring, unemployed journalists or stay-at-home workers who have time to surf the net and write drivel about their lives that you can’t imagine anyone wanting to read.
  • You aren’t on or aware of most of social media. For example, Twitter: you have no Followers except by accident (you now have 7). You never tweet, retweet, or favorite anyone’s tweets. In fact, you never read and respond on Twitter at all. Furthermore, your Facebook activity is conducted strictly to stay in touch with friends and family, people you actually know. You belong to no Facebook groups except those that include people you know and have a specific purpose (your high school reunion group, a meditation group).

    Social media icons

  • Additionally, even though someone told you to sign up for and join Goodreads, you almost never visit it and have no idea what it’s for. You also believe that people who use it are just sharing book lists and books they like. You never read or write reviews there or on Amazon and rarely buy books from online stores; you prefer bricks-and-mortar bookstores when you buy books and mostly use lending libraries.
  • You don’t consider yourself a book marketer and have not the faintest idea what book marketing entails, nor do you want to know. In fact, you plan to have all that done by your publisher and perhaps your agent (you’re a little fuzzy on who does what and when). You believe that their experienced and intensive marketing efforts will succeed in getting you/your book on TV, radio, and in print reviews and ads which will make your book rocket to best-seller status very quickly, since you’re sure it’s that good.
  • You’ve ever heard of or used any Google+ Communities, Hangouts, or Circles.
  • You have never heard of Metadata and wouldn’t know how to apply that to your ebooks, either.

    Metadata topics

  • You do not know about most of nor do you belong to any in-person much less virtual writers’ groups, authors’ groups, marketing groups, review sharing groups, or any professional writers’ groups of any kind.
  • You’ve never heard of ALEXA, Google Page Ranks, Google Authorship or KLOUT scores and you don’t know much about having an online presence. The extent of your knowledge is that you check Google every now and then to make sure nobody else is using your name or is saying bad things about you online.

Oy, vey.

Can your writing career be salvaged? Can you become a published author and have ANYONE know it? How will your book get reviews? How will you acquire any followers, much less readers? Will you sell even one book to anyone outside your friends and family?

How and when will you ever figure out that you need to create and maintain a website, build and improve your author’s platform, join and become active in online and virtual communities/groups, become KNOWN as YOU, your brand, online, as a sci-fi author and blogger, a creator and curator of useful content?

Writing Community

Tip #1: Forget the query letters, hunts for agents/publishers and all that trad pub jazz. Indie is the way to go. Ebooks are rocking the readers. Believe me. I know.

Tip #2: You may have noticed that I’ve actually decided to write these letters to you to offer a kind of road map to your salvation as an author. If you read and research each of the words or phrases I’ve put into BOLD in this letter, for example, those are the dots you have to connect, the work you have to do, to create the best future for your books and for you as an author.

Do a lot of it NOW, before you publish, and then keep doing more. That is key!

Stay tuned for Part II and subsequent Parts to this intraself communication which will contain advice for many indie authors as we continue on this journey of educating this indie author, earlier Sally: YOU!

Get to work!

Present Sally

Famous Writers’ Insults

AND, if you’d like to know more about the quirky sense of humor, writings and covers of Nicholas Rossis, check out our hour on *CHANGES* conversations between authors, Episode 7 (one of the most popular already!), or other Episodes here: http://goo.gl/qdKiGb
#Authors, learn more about and get yourself on or #Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest: *CHANGES* G+ HOA  https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

Nicholas C. Rossis

I often say that my favorite thing about my writing journey is how helpful everyone’s been. I’ve met some wonderful people, eager to support and encourage others.

That’s not always been the case, though. Indeed, when authors get mean, the results can be spectacular, as the infographic below by Amy Cowen, found at her AussieWriter blog, shows:From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

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More 2015 New Releases in LGBTQ Young Adult Fiction

Thanks for curating this collection, Molly! Will look these up for sure!

Best to you,


wrapped up in books

I’ve been working on a presentation for a workshop on collection development and readers’ advisory for LGBTQ YA, and so I’ve been looking for more new titles coming out. Here’s my first round up of 2015 LGBTQ young adult literature. The eight books below are newly released or coming out in Fall 2015. 

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Free book alert for paranormal lovers!

AND, if you want to get to know this author better, watch our *CHANGES* conversation between authors, Episode 4 and all Episodes here: http://goo.gl/qdKiGb
#Authors, learn more about and get yourself on or #Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest, see upcoming schedule for other guests: *CHANGES* G+ HOA  https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

Cultural Cocktails

Available for FREE through AMAZON March 23rd-27th!
Bound By Blood (A Night Shift Novella)
By Margo Bond Collins
Sometimes the monsters in the night are real.
Sometimes they live right next door.

As a child, Halili Banta ignored her grandmother’s cryptic warnings not to make friends with children outside their Filipino community in Houston. But she preferred to become a “real” American, down to the Americanization of her name, Lili. When many of those other children fell ill, Lili vowed to focus on learning everything she could about Western medicine, ignoring the whispers in her community that a vampiric aswang walked among them.

Now, as an adult and a medical doctor, Lili has returned to Houston to work for the Quarantine Station of the Center…

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This Changes Everything Title-Sharing: Thanks, Naomi Klein! Your Best-Seller is Boosting my Sales!

This Changes Everything Title-Sharing: Thanks, Naomi Klein! Your Best-Seller is Boosting my Sales!

A book can have similar titles or the same title as numerous other books, since titles can’t be copy-protected or trademarked, usually. Has any of you had the experience of having a book’s success (or failure…) influence your book’s visibility and/or sales/downloads due to its having a similar or the same title?

Well-known researcher, feminist and author, Naomi Klein, released her best-selling book on climate change about one year after I released my first ebook, using This Changes Everything as her book’s title, which is identical to MY Volume I of The Spanners Series‘ title.

Look what is happening on Amazon (this is a screenshot of what follows my book’s reviews section on my TCE’s Amazon book page. Click to see a larger image):

Screenshot (14)

Here is her book’s cover:

TCE Naomi Klein
BORING, right? But, hey, it’s nonfiction, so what does anyone expect?

Here is mine (from the great artist/illustrator, Aidana Willowraven) http://willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/:

Which one would YOU rather read? Sci-fi/aliens, right?

Plus, hers costs money and MY Volume I is PERMAFREE!
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197 all ebook formats, here.

The Spanners Series‘ Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is only $3.99 and also available everywhere ebooks are sold.

Well, thanks, Naomi! I appreciate the blow-back!

Best of luck to you and me for our book sales!

Linguistics 101: Appreciate Our Languages on World Language Day

“World Language Day”? Who knew? Great maps! #linguistics

Publishing Insights


World Language Day is an event held by some universities in the U.S. to popularize knowledge of world cultures and languages among general public, particularly high school students (e.g. MSU,UNCO, etc). Being linguistics student myself, I couldn not help but join this endeavour. So this post is, in a sense, not specifically for writers/publishers, but for language users — which is all of us!

We all speak at least one language — in fact, more than half of the world’s population speak two or more languages (Tucker, 1999). Language is so ubiquitous that we can easily take it for granted, but it is also said to be one of the most central characteristics that set us off from other species on this planet. What is so special about human language? Why does it differ greatly from animal “languages”? Three properties make our language distinct from any other animal communication…

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Blog Advice 1: Increasing Your Traffic

Great ideas and #blogging #tips from Suzie! WORD!

Suzie Speaks

imageOne of the most common questions I am asked by fellow bloggers is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to provide a definitive answer to:

How do I increase the traffic that I receive to my blog?

Before I begin, I think that it is important to note two important points:

  • Building a following and, consequently increasing your traffic, takes lots of time and effort. You are extremely unlikely to receive thousands, or even hundreds of views simply by pressing the publish button.
  • Content is key. Well-written posts will draw new people in, and encourage them to visit again. Posting page after page of inspirational quotes looks pretty, but will leave your audience bored after a while. Be yourself, make no apologies and believe in what you are creating.

I know very little about SEO, so I don’t feel experienced enough to comment it. However, in my experience…

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I am NOT Irish and/or Catholic and I do NOT wear green: don’t you dare pinch me today!

I am NOT Irish and/or Catholic and I do NOT wear green: don’t you dare pinch me today!

The tyranny of those who go around pinching those who don’t enjoy the “wearing of the green” or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has got to stop.

Most of us couldn’t care less that some people have a random holiday today and aren’t drinking anything (green or otherwise). We resent being touched, much less hurt, by drunk and/or celebrating strangers.

By the way, in case you care, here is a bit of history about this so-called “holiday”:

1) The actual person who was beatified after his death into sainthood by the Catholic Church wasn’t even Irish, but Ireland made “St. Patrick” into its “patron saint.”

2) It’s mostly become an excuse to drink alcohol, especially for those who had been observing Lent by abstaining from alcohol, because on THIS day, they are absolved from Lent obligations.

3) The “wearing of the green” was a prime form of protest against the British governance of Ireland during rebellion centuries/decades. Green has little to do with St. Patrick, since the color originally associated with that saint was blue, but political and union protesters adopted the color green in the 1790s to represent Irish unity and then tacked it on to St. Patrick’s Day later.

4) St. Patrick’s “Day” is now celebrated for almost an entire week in Ireland, with parades, drinking, concerts, fireworks, sales and general rowdiness. It’s become an alcohol and tourist festival with few or no references to Irish Unity, Independence, Catholicism or Saint Patrick.

5) Somehow, dying things green, especially liquids, has become part of the way people, businesses, entire cities and nations “celebrate” this day. Check this out. It’s absurd, in my opinion:

The White House, USA, fountain, 3/17/11

Want to know more? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Day

SO: Do whatever you want on this day or any days around it. Just leave me out of it. I’m a Buddhist/Jewish USA midwesterner who doesn’t drink.

A Little Improv Can Go a Long Way with Dementia

Excellent advice for anyone dealing with those with memory loss, dementia and other related problems. Best to laugh privately, though! Thanks for posting! Sharing!

Long Distance Daughter

improv-sign-crop2 Credit: Tom Magliery

Most days, dad sleeps a lot. But today, he’s wide awake. He’s on the phone, yelling at me. He’s so angry, but there’s sadness in his voice, too. “I don’t have any money, I don’t have a car. I don’t even have any shoes,” he tells me. “And I’ve got to go down and see mom and dad.”

Now, my dad is 92 and his parents have been gone for decades. He has money in bank accounts that he doesn’t remember how to access, and he has a car he’s no longer able to drive. These days, his shoes mostly stay in the closet. He wears his slippers when he has the energy to walk down to the dining room to eat with his friends Leo and John, or when he gets the urge to bust out of the skilled nursing wing where he lives. He heads…

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Clean Indie Reads #MarchMadness #Sale starts TODAY, March 16 – 20, 2015

Clean Indie Reads (CIR) March Madness Sale, 2015

CIR March sale 2015

It’s March Madness time with a mega book sale by Clean Indie Reads (CIR) authors from March 16 through March 20, 2015.


CIR, the home of “flinch-free fiction,” connects readers with authors who write “clean” fiction encompassing all genres, including books for children, middle-grades kids and young adults as well as books for adults in mystery, romance, paranormal, fantasy (which includes sci-fi), contemporary and historical fiction.

“Clean” doesn’t mean all books featured are squeaky-clean, Disney-Princess pure, but the CIR imprimatur does mean that CIR books contain no erotica, no sexually explicit scenes, no offensive language, graphic violence or gore.

With the March Madness sale, you can load up on CIR books at bargain prices! Happy Reading!

There is also an excellent BLOG HOP going on throughout the sale, so you can visit many great sites and read more about these authors’ books: http://sweetbloghops.blogspot.com/2015/03/clean-indie-reads-march-madness.html

CIR Blog Hop logo 2015 March Madness

Yippie! THE SPANNERS SERIES ebooks are included in this great Sale!
—-Vol I, This Changes Everything, is PERMAFREE.
—-Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is 60% off this week only (down to $1.99) via coupon on the CIR sale page and Smashwords book link (which offers all ereader formats).



More whimsy needed in your life? Get to know Jnana even better this Wed. on *CHANGES* conversations between authors! Sally Ember, Ed.D. hosts Jnana Hodson, novelist/ poet/ genealogist/ blogger/singer, LIVE on March 18, 10 – 11 AM EDaylightT USA, on Google+ http://goo.gl/sGeWS9 or Youtube: http://goo.gl/O0w9kU

Jnana's Red Barn

It's sited on the wrong side of the house to record either the solstices or the equinoxes, but it's a whimsical reminder all the same. It’s sited on the wrong side of the house to record either the solstices or the equinoxes, but it’s a whimsical reminder all the same.

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ALL communities should be like this one!


village homes davis

In 1972, Judy and Michael Corbett were inspired to build their eco-friendly dream community. Their dream was met with opposition, criticism, and financial roadblocks. The visionary concept focused on ecology and sociology to establish a balance between environment, economics, and human needs for sustainability. The emphasis was on conservation as residential areas were embedded within expansive open space.

Persistence paid off when the first phase of construction began in 1975. Passive solar energy was captured by homes that were oriented to face the rising sun. The landscape was designed for effective, natural resource management. Many of the residents were in the planning process and formed work parties in a “community-built process”.

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY: The Corbetts vision was completed in 1982 as an Ecological Living Community. The community was composed of 242 single and multi-living units housed on 60 acres with bike path, swimming pool, community center, nine bedroom co-op, commercial…

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4 p’s- post concussion, parenting, publishers

I am also dealing with PCS (almost one year, now) to my frontal lobe and areas behind (face plant against a wall; broken nose, etc.). I find myself having LOST functionality, speed, effectiveness, efficiency with: vocabulary, memories (short- and long-term are both adversely affected), typing skills, grammar and proofreading for first drafts (have to re-read and fix EVERYTHING), mental math; people’s names; facts; ability to meditate (at all, at first, then for prolonged or sustained periods with my advanced practices which took years to develop); stamina for mental activities (I used to be able to sit and work at my computer for hours writing, researching, connecting on social media; now, about 1 – 2 hours and I’m fatigued) and physical exercise (I used to be able to go an entire day without a nap, but can no longer do that; I used to swim 45 – 60 minutes 4 – 6 times /week, but now, 3-0 – 35 minutes, 3 times/week).

I have GAINED aversion/sensitivity to: bright, artificial light and high-pitched or thrumming/buzzing droning sounds; stupidity and irresponsibility in others; stories or “entertainment” that is boring or pointless (to me).

I also feel and display more irritability and impatience, but have less access to sorrow and grief, laugh less, enjoy things less (anhedonia).

I am still partly aphasic, slower to articulate and less able to be “on” than pre-concussion. It should be explained that I was functioning in the top 10% of humans, intellectually, so my “fall” still puts me above average in most areas and therefore, is untestable as a loss by ordinary neurological tests. I just started 6 sessions of “Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy,” which may or may not help me regain some or all of the functionality and speed, etc, that I have lost. Unclear, now, as to outcomes.

My CAT scan and MRI, similarly, show NOTHING (which is typical for concussions). Unless you received the still-experimental DT-MRI (Diffusion Tensor), you’re likely also to see NOTHING in your MRI. This does NOT mean you have no damage; just that that test won’t show it.

I have written and researched other aspects of concussions, how having one relates to meditation, DT-MRIs and other stuff on my site: http://www,sallyember.com/blog just put in keyword “Concussion.”

Best to you.


Where #Words Cross Paths: Pre-writing to #Change Your #Writing Habits, Guest Blog Post by Connie Dunn

Where #Words Cross Paths: Pre-writing to #Change Your #Writing Habits

by author and publishing consultant, Connie Dunn,
Guest Blogger and former guest on CHANGES conversations between authors
(Episode 3): https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/


Here you are, sitting at the crossroads of Write and Don’t Write.

You keep saying that you have this novel or short story or true story or even some sort of non-fiction you want to write, yet something keeps you from putting an actual word or sentence down on paper. Whether you are “old school” and use pad and pen or “new age” and use a computer or a tablet, it’s all the same.

If two people cross paths, they meet. Your words must cross paths with other words to meet and create sentences. Sentences then lead to paragraphs. Paragraphs turn into chapters. Chapters turn into books. Voilà! A book is born!

Well, theoretically, this is what happens. The truth is that a little Pre-writing can go a long way.

The first step even before thinking about your story at all is to think about who your readers are going to be.

Once that is established, the non-fiction writer should write a good outline that resembles a Table of Contents, which may have a paragraph or so of writing that specifically outlines something in this section. Novelists, in particular, need to do quite a lot of Pre-writing.

Pre-writing is simple in concept:
1) Write the backstories of all of your characters and
2) Plot out all the plot points.

Pre-writing includes developing your characters and all your plot lines. Yes, I said plot lines.

In any good novel, you should have more than one plot going. There is your main plot but there are also interactive plots that help you get to know some of the other characters and what is going on with them. You also need to know how they interact with your main plot.

The easiest way to develop your characters is to interview them and write down everything about them. Ask the same questions of each character, making sure that you delve into their backgrounds to give you something unique about the character.

Here are some of the questions you might ask your characters:

  • What color is your hair?
  • What color are your eyes?
  • What gender are you? What sexual preference, if applicable?
  • Do you have any distinguishing facial features, such as scars, dimples, etc.?
  • How tall are you?
  • Do you have a distinguishing walk (such as a limp)?
  • What sort of clothing would you wear?
  • How do you act (in public? in private?)?
  • What do you do for a living/what type of school do you attend (grade, private/public, etc.)?
  • Are you honest or dishonest? How can we tell that?
  • Are you more of a hero or villain? Why?
  • How do you spend your time.
  • Do you have any hobbies? What are they?
  • When you are not at school/work, what do you spend most of your time doing?
  • What else can you tell me about yourself?

Some authors like to use index cards to keep track of characters and plot points. Some color-code them according to what plot they belong. Many now use writing software, such as Scrivener, to keep track of everything in a book or series. Some use spreadsheets.

Now, let’s talk about those plots! Plot points are the junctures in each story for which the plot/action is critical. However, some authors use each scene as a way of plotting. It makes sense to use the scenes as plot points, because that is what puts together your story. Of course, these are usually just the high points. There can be many more scenes that support the plot points‘ scenes.

In every story, there is a beginning, a middle and end. But there is actually much more going on in those three pieces of a story. In fact, it is a better to dissect or construct a story looking at it in this Five-Point Plot, which is still a very abbreviated plot formation.

Rather than dive into more complicated plot points, we’ll look at this abbreviated version before we begin looking at things like Scene Development.

Of course, we know that each PLOT is built upon SCENES and SCENES are dependent upon CHARACTERS, CONFLICT and ACTION.

Here is a general idea of what you need to put into your Plotting, using the Five-Point Plot plan:

I. The Hook/Problem: This is an introduction of a problem or conflict that is basic to the entire story. This is the conflict that slowly plays out and is resolved in some manner by the end of the play, screenplay, novel or story. This needs to be compelling and draw the audience into the story; otherwise, there would be no need to write the story.

II. The Complication: This is where the original conflict described in The Hook gets more complicated.

III. The Protagonist’s Goal: At this stage of the story, the goal of the Protagonist (main character) has been clearly defined and the Protagonist is clearly setting out to achieve it.


  • Turn of Events: Protagonist now has an obstacle to overcome.
  • Protagonist’s New Goal: Protagonist now establishes a new goal.
  • Major Reversal: Protagonist appears to have lost all goals.
  • Redefining of Protagonist’s Goal: Protagonist must redefine goal into what showdown is about.
  • IV. Climax: This point is the highest point in the story.

    V. Resolution: This is the very last scene where all the loose ends get tied up. Whatever needs to be resolved gets resolved at this point.

    Another Pre-Writing task that may be helpful is to think about the entire story, considering these or similar questions: What did you find the most compelling? What problem or conflict will you choose to be first? Pick one that can establish the tone of your book, while making sure you have clearly established a problem or conflict.

    For example, instead of starting a story with the birth of the Protagonist, start with two or more of your characters arguing. Make sure that your compelling opening is relative and essential to the story, of course.

    Once you’ve developed characters and plots, you have mapped out your entire book.

    One more essential part of Pre-Writing: look at your storyline and determine if you need to do research on any aspect. Even though it is a fictional story, you want to be accurate. If it is non-fiction, every aspect must be fact-checked.

    So now that you’ve done all your Pre-Writing, you are ready to begin writing. Instead of standing at the crossroads of Write or Don’t Write, you are standing at Ready to Write.


    You have developed your entire book. Okay, so these are just bare bones that you’ve developed, but now comes the creative flow.

    It is much easier to get the juices of imagination going now that you’ve done a lot of Pre-Writing.

    Some Writing tips:
    —Avoid long descriptions; instead tuck smaller pieces into your paragraphs, especially ones in which the character is speaking.
    —Make sure that you paint pictures with your words and include all the senses. Let us know what your character is smelling, feeling, hearing, etc.

    So, the next time you are sitting at the crossroads of Write or Don’t Write, don’t just say, “I’ve got this great novel or short story or true story or even some sort of non-fiction I want to write.” Instead, begin your adventure with something that will help you put actual words and sentence down on paper.

    Connie Dunn‘s Information

    Connie Dunn
    Connie Dunn is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator.

    She specializes in developing a community of writers from which she helps fiction and non-fiction writers take their books from wherever they are to getting them published. To get more information on coaching and courses, go to http://publishwithconnie.com, where you can find Character Development Book/E-Book or course and Plot Development courses, as well Accountability Group Coaching Calls.

    Like Connie on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/publishwithconnie

    Follow Connie on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wiseconnie

    Connie writes both fiction and non-fiction books as well as courses. Her goal is to help her students and coaching clients reach their next goals. As part of her initiative to help authors, she founded

    WC Review image
    Weeping Cherry International Review
    : http://weepingcherryinternationalreview.org

    10 Ways to Develop Characters:

    10 Ways to - cover-2jpg

    Character Development Course: http://publishwithconnie.com/courses-2/character-development-2/
    Plot Development Course: http://publishwithconnie.com/courses-2/plotting-your-plot/
    Accountability Group Coaching Call: http://publishwithconnie.com/coaching-services/once-a-week-accountability-call/

    Sally Ember, Ed.D., is the author of the sci-fi/romance/utopian ebooks in The Spanners Series. Volume I, This Changes Everything, is permafree. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is usually $3.99. Look for Volumes III and IV in 2015.
    All reviews, info, excerpts, links: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

    BOUGHT Movie: The Truth Behind Vaccines, Big Pharma & Your Food

    watched about 15 minutes of this and want to watch the rest.Chilling, upsetting, important. Share! Make fun of Jenny Garth all you want; she’s not incorrect about the dangers of vaccines. The question is not whether or not to vaccinate; the questions are :when (at what ages) to vaccinate? against what? how many to give to one child at once?, with what ingredients/ formula?, and, also, what to do about GMOs, pesticides and other chemical pollution which are contributing to sensitivities in some children and who is to pay for their care when they are harmed?

    This and That

    This video is only available to watch free untill March 15, 2015. Scroll down to get the link to the BOUGHT website. Excerpt from below the YT video. ……”The BOUGHT documentary takes viewers deep “inside the guts” of this despicable conspiracy…
    Featuring exclusive interviews with the world’s most acclaimed experts in research, medicine, holistic care and natural health… Bought exposes the hidden (and deadly) story behind it all.”


    View original post

    Book Marketing Timeline

    Thanks, Darla, and Thanks, Ape!

    Darla G. Denton

    Today I wanted to share an infographic I found on Pinterestthat breaks down a Book Marketing Timeline.

    The infographic coincides with the article “Why A Book Marketing Timeline Is Important” by Stefanie Newell on TheWriteOneBlog.

    In the article they have included a great video titled “What They Don’t Tell You About Successful Product Launches” by Darren Rowse that is definetly worth listening to.


    Book Marketing Infographic

    View original post

    PEN/Faulkner Finalists Announced

    Mazel Tov to finalists for the 2015 #Pen/#Faulkner #Awards for #novelists!
    Jeffery Renard Allen, author of “Song of the Shank”

    Jennifer Clement, author of “Prayers for the Stolen”

    Atticus Lish, author of “Preparation for the Next Life”

    Emily St. John Mandel, author of “Station Eleven”

    Jenny Offill, author of “Dept. of Speculation”


    Finalists for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Awards have been announced! Congratulations to these terrific nominees. Are you rooting for a favorite?

    Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank

    Jennifer Clement, author of Prayers for the Stolen

    Atticus Lish, author of Preparation for the Next Life

    Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

    Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation

    View original post

    Solar Eclipse 20 March

    Someone posted this as being on a full moon day, which is incorrect, but it is a “supermoon” day (a day the moon is close to earth) and will be awesome!

    Explaining Science

    Some of us living in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to view a solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015. Most people will only see a partial eclipse, but some lucky people living in a particular region will experience a total eclipse.  When this happens the Sun is completely obscured and it goes dark during the period of time that the Sun is covered.

    Throughout this post I will use the term “eclipse” to mean an eclipse of the Sun or solar eclipse. I will talk about eclipses of the Moon in a future post.


    The path of totality, where a total eclipse can be seen is shown as the dark band in the map below

    2015 eclipse totality path

    As you can see from the map, most of this area is uninhabited, with the notable exception of the Faroe Islands (population 50,000) where a total eclipse lasting over 2 and half minutes will be visible. This…

    View original post 1,181 more words

    My Responses to the mid-year “Scorecard” for USA Primetime TV shows, 2014-15

    My Responses to the mid-year “Scorecard” for USA Primetime TV shows, 2014-15

    As some of you know, my mom (82) and I (60) watch a lot of TV shows together and some separately since I moved here in August. We usually have the same or similar tastes, but, once again, we are apparently not the target demographic for primetime USA TV shows.

    Execs repeatedly cancel what we like (intelligent, entertaining, even unusual dramas, romantic dramas or dramadies, some with a touch of the paranormal), often without tying up loose ends or finishing an ongoing story (which is just plain RUDE to viewers of a series). These networks’ “brain trusts” continue to add on or retain what we detest (most half-hour sitcoms, “reality” shows, and other drek).


    Here are the lists of RENEWED, “ON-the-BUBBLE” (meaning, fate is uncertain), and CANCELLED shows for the 2014-15 season’s shows, from TVLINE: http://tvline.com/2014/10/28/renewed-tv-shows-2015-renewal-scorecard-cancelled-series/, and my responses (with some of her comments as well).

    I’m only reporting on the status of shows we watch. If you want to know more about other shows, go to the link, above.

    Also, TVLINE doesn’t include cable networks’ shows, such as TNT‘s, USA‘s, BBC‘s, VHI‘s, A&E‘s or ABC Family‘s, some of which we watch, so I list them below.

    ME = Only I watch this one.
    MOM = Only Mom watches this one.
    The rest, we both watch.

    TVLINE uses this list of status possibilities, in descending order:

    ♦ Officially renewed
    ♦ A sure thing
    ♦ A safe bet
    ♦ Could go either way
    ♦ A long-shot
    ♦ Essentially cancelled
    ♦ Officially cancelled
    ♦ Too early to tell

    Allegiance: Officially cancelled. WHY? This is an excellent show, with great writing, original characters and excellent acting. Stupid Execs.


    ME TNT’s The Americans: Don’t know. Currently running a new season. I like this show a lot but I have to fast-forward through the torture and gory stuff. Amazing acting and great writing.

    Ascension: Don’t know. Mom didn’t like this at first, but I got her into it and then she got hooked. Now, of course, she’ll be mad if they don’t continue, since they left it all unresolved.

    Battle Creek: Premiered March 1. Don’t know. My mom and I were both unimpressed with this but will watch one more Episode, just to see if it really is that mediocre.

    Bones: A sure thing. We LOVE this show: great writing, great relationships, fun to watch (but Mom doesn’t look at the gory parts).

    The Blacklist: Officially renewed. We liked this a lot at first, but it has gotten darker and bloodier every week, it seems. I fast-forward through a lot of it, now.

    Blue Bloods: A safe bet. We both like this, but Mom LOVES this show so much that she watches re-runs multiple times. Is it Tom Selleck’s moustache?

    Castle: A safe bet. We LOVE this show: great writing, great relationships, fun to watch.

    ABC Family’s Chasing Life: Don’t know. Currently running a new season. I got Mom to watch this (I watched Season 1 last year) and she likes it, usually, when the show doesn’t devolve into soap opera-type adolescents’ and young adults’ dramas.

    Chasing Life TV

    MOM Chicago Fire: Officially renewed. One of my upcoming guests on my almost-weekly (Wednesdays, 10 – 11 AM Eastern USA time) CHANGES conversations between authors talk show (https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/, poet James Gordon, is also an actor who has a guest-starring role on this show (which is the reason we changed his show date from 3/11 to 4/1!), so I guess I’ll watch his Episode, but otherwise, this one is Mom’s.

    MOM Chicago P.D.: Officially renewed. I’ve never watched this but Mom is loyal.

    CSI: Cyber: Premiered March 4. Don’t know. It’s not getting good reviews, but we really liked the first Episode. Probably cancelled, then, right?

    ME BBC’s Downton Abbey: Don’t know. Probably renewed; even though Mom doesn’t watch most BBC shows, many do and it’s very popular. Disturbing look into last century’s English elite and their servants: classism at its best/worst.

    Elementary: Could go either way. We like this show a lot, but sometimes it’s very hard to understand Sherlock because he talks so softly and quickly and with a British accent.

    Forever: Season 2 is a long-shot. Of course it is; we really like this show, especially the relationships between the lead character, Henry, and his son and Henry and his detective partner.

    Galavant: Season 2 could go either way.

    The Good Wife: A sure thing. We LOVE this show. I worked with Julianna Margulies’ mother back in the mid-1980’s, so I feel related.

    ME Grey’s Anatomy: A sure thing. Really? I thought this was its last season…. Mom stopped watching it years ago, but I’m loyal.

    MOM Hawaii Five-0: Could go either way. I never got into this, but Mom loves it.

    ME Hart of Dixie: Season 4 finale airs March 27; Season 5 is a long-shot. This is mostly an awful show, but an acquaintance/author friend of mine’s older son is one of the stars (and, even though his part is hugely ridiculous, he does an awesome job!), and I like Rachel Bilson (usually), so I still watch. It is so insipid, though…. Sigh.

    VHI’s Hindsight: Don’t know. Mom watches this with me because I like the premise, but it has devolved into a soap opera with twenty-somethings; neither of us likes it now all that much. Great music, though!

    Hindsight TV

    How to Get Away With Murder: Season 2 is a sure thing. We like this, but it’s a bit like watching a train wreck in the dark which keeps reversing and starting over. The writing could be less confusing and the production values could be better (MORE LIGHT!): We need to SEE, please. And, stop using text messages to advance the story, because we can’t read them!

    TNT’s The Librarians: Don’t know. Started out strong and we really liked it, but it did get even weirder than we expected. We hope it continues, though. We loved Warehouse 13, and this is very similar. Fun cast.


    A&E’s The Listener: Don’t know. Seems to be cancelled, but we watch re-runs on an off-channel, hoping we’re wrong. Great show with original and very Canadian crime-fighting.

    Longmire: Cancelled, but continued on Netflix (which we do not have). Too bad; we liked this show a lot, but we didn’t want the apparent romance between those two main characters to actually occur. Hope it doesn’t.

    Marvel’s Agent Carter: Too early to tell. We like this show a lot, especially the lead character. Probably means it’s cancelled.

    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Too early to tell. We watch this but it’s harder to understand with the new season’s just beginning again. We’ll see if we continue (even if does, we may not).

    Madam Secretary: Officially renewed for Season 2. This show is EXCELLENT! Glad it’s continuing. Awesome acting and writing.

    TNT’s Major Crimes: Don’t know. Season is in two parts. First part just ended; second part starts in June. Then, Don’t know. We like it a lot. Liked The Closer even more, which this spun off from a couple of years ago.

    Major Crimes

    ME Modern Family: A sure thing. I mostly fast-forward through this since it’s devolved into silliness, but some of it is still funny.

    The Mysteries of Laura: Too early to tell. We did not like this at all, at first, but kept watching and it kind of grew on us. Wouldn’t miss it if it got cancelled, though.

    ME Nashville: Could go either way. I really like this show, but the writers seem to have painted themselves into several corners and the music hasn’t been consistently great.

    NCIS: A sure thing. We both like this a lot, especially the characters/actors. Miss Ziva, though.

    MOM NCIS: Los Angeles: A sure thing. I never got into this one, but I like the original.

    MOM NCIS: New Orleans: Officially renewed for Season 2. I didn’t like this (tried a couple of Episodes).

    BBC’s New Tricks: Probably continuing. Just got into this recently (it’s been on for several years already) and enjoy the “cold cases” these retirees and their kick-butt female boss(es) solve. Some of the British-isms are hard for Mom to understand, but I translate (she’s not as into BBC shows as I am).

    The Night Shift: Season 2 premiered Feb. 23. Too early to tell. A medical drama I just got Mom into, so we’ll see if she likes it. I watched the entire first season and enjoyed it immensely: great writing, acting, unique situations.

    ME BBC’s Orphan Black: New season starts this week. Too early to tell. Very oddball show with amazing, Emmy-awarded acting by the lead actor, Tatiana Maslany, who plays multiple roles (some simultaneously!?!), and the show has awesome hairstylists!

    Orphan Black

    Perception: Too early to tell. New season just started. We really like this show. Interesting, likeable characters and unusual crimes to solve.

    Person of Interest: A safe bet. More and more bizarre each season, and we miss Shaw, now, but well worth watching. We do wish the main character, John, would STOP WHISPERING.

    Red Band Society: Too early to tell. Essentially cancelled. This was a great show but they didn’t capture the younger audience well enough; it’s too bad they didn’t continue it.

    ME Resurrection: A long-shot. But, I probably won’t continue watching even if it continues. It got too Christian-y for me.

    Revenge: Could go either way. This show was good for a while but it got repetitive and stranger each year. Deserves to go.

    TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles: Too early to tell. New season just started. We really like this show: great writing, not too bloody, fun interplay among characters.


    MOM Rookie Blue: Season 6 premieres Summer 2015.

    USA’s Royal Pains: Restarts Season 7 or 8 (I can’t keep track) this summer. Fun, very weird medical dramedy, second only to The Night Shift for doing medical procedures in odd places (“in the field”) with jerry-rigged equipment and found objects.

    Scandal: A sure thing. This show has gotten into some horrible areas, but last week’s Episode (with Courtney B. Vance as the grieving Dad) was amazing. Glad it’s continuing.

    Scorpion: Officially renewed for Season 2. We LOVE this show.

    USA’s Suits: Season is in two parts. First part just ended; second part starts in June. Too early to tell. Not sure how they’re going to continue with things they way the left them this week with Donna and with Mike’s ongoing untenable situation.

    ME BBC‘s Sherlock: Next season is scheduled to start soon. BBC just started running the entire series again this week, if you want to catch up! Very different take on the Sherlock-Watson relationship than previous British or American Sherlock’s and not the same at all as Elementary‘s, either. Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch. Yes.

    Sherlock BBC

    State of Affairs: Season 2 a long-shot. Also liked this show a lot, at first, but it’s gotten very dark and convoluted. Difficult to see where they’re going with it, now. Probably deserves to be cancelled, but it’s had some great acting, especially by the President (Alfre Woodard) and Katherine Heigl with several unique situations.

    ME Under the Dome: Officially renewed for Season 3. But, I probably won’t continue watching. Didn’t like where this went towards the end of Season 2 and too few of the remaining characters are likeable. Also, the premises are quite bizarre, even for Stephen King.

    Unforgettable: Officially cancelled. Possibly renewed by A&E for Season 4. We really like this show and if it does continue on A&E, that will be this show’s third network! Amazing tenacity of producers? Poppy Montgomery is adorable.


    Congratulations #Authors – One battle won against #Copyright #Infringement – UPDATE…

    Important copyright info for authors and bloggers. KEEP THIS POST HANDY! It has language for sending an email to infringers. Thanks for posting, everyone!

    Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

    To keep you posted after my post about CONFIRMED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT NOTIFICATION yesterday and to let you see that you are NOT ALONE in the battle against it, here are the statistics on the post at the time of writing THIS post:

    373 visitors viewed the post published at 20:12 pm last night.

    TEN of them re-blogged it, thereby spreading the word FAST.

    To see the all responses, look at the comments under the article HERE, however, here is a rough timeline of significant events:

    At 21:56 pm, The following comment was received: 

    Update: I also sent them a message through Facebook demanding they remove it. They responded:”hi ******, all book grab automatically from many source. we are apologize if your book published in our site. please contact us via http://www.e-bookdownload.net/contact-us/ with your book title list and we will remove it in 1x24hours. thanks” I informed them I…

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    I am so pleased to be able to enjoy a *CHANGES* conversation in about 10 days with author and meditator, Jhana Hodson, writing here about practice, one of my favorite subjects on Episode 24, Wed., 3/18/15, 10 – 11 AM EDT USA LIVE conversation on Google+ and Youtube, and learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest on *CHANGES* conversations between authors. Check back here in about a week for the URLs for Episode 24:  https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

    Watch conversations with my previous 22 *CHANGES* guests any time: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

    Jnana's Red Barn

    As I said at the time:

    Along the way, the “creative process” is a phrase I’ve come to detest. “Poetic” is another, especially when applied to another art. Whatever “creative” really means or as though the resulting work always occurs in a given sequence. Perhaps “artistic problem-solving” or “artistic exploration” comes closer, except that “artistic” still carries too much excess baggage.

    “Process” sounds too much like ritual for my taste. Or a formula, “If you add L to M you’ll end up with an original poem.” Which sounds too much like a dogma or a creed to recite. Like a corridor through a shopping mall. Like a secret code to be disclosed, a joke to be retold in some variation.

    For universities, “creative process” can even be seen as the teaching of mistrust and technique. “Absolute skepticism is one of the powers,” Richard Foster writes in Money, Sex & Power

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    The Truth about Corporal Punishment

    The Truth about Corporal Punishment #Children/ #Parents /#Caregivers: It does not work. Stop doing it. http://wp.me/p1DWDm-Zt via @garyullah

    Liberty Today

    On upworthy.com today, a website which claims to engage about 50 million people a month, I came across the first infographic (below) that I know of that summarises the scientific evidence against spanking (corporal punishment) as an effective parenting technique . This is great. The truth about spanking continues to spread. Research suggests that the vast majority of parents still believe in spanking, but mostly only because they think there is no alternative. This is perhaps one of the most harmful and tragic beliefs of our time. The still widely accepted wisdom in regard to child rearing hasn’t yet caught up with the science. Most parents are still parenting as if spanking benefits children when the reality is that it harms them, now and later on in life.

    The best hope for greatly reducing violence against children is the general acceptance of the reality that spanking is harmful and wrong, as this will lead to the…

    View original post 32 more words

    MailChimp 1 – Signing up for MailChimp

    Thanks for posting. Answers a lot of my questions.

    LibroEditing proofreading, editing, transcription, localisation

    Welcome to the first in a series of walk-throughs that will show you how to set up a MailChimp account, set up templates and lists, and send out a MailChimp newsletter. You can start to set up your subscriber list in MailChimp 2 and create a sign-up form in MailChimp 3

    What is MailChimp?

    MailChimp is a web-based service which allows you to send out newsletters to a list of people who have signed up to receive them. There are other services out there, but MailChimp is very popular, often recommended to newbies and is free as long as you have under 2,000 subscribers and send out fewer than 12,000 emails per month. You can upgrade in order to get extra features and also if your list goes over the 2,000 mark. Please note right here and now that I’m not being sponsored by MailChimp for doing these posts…

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    WRITING AND PROMOTING A SERIES: Series authors, Nicholas C. Rossis and Charles Yallowitz


    by series authors, Nicholas C. Rossis, Pearseus series, and

    Charles Yallowitz, Legends of Windemere series

    Guest bloggers and former guests on CHANGES conversations between authors
    (Episodes 7 and 9), http://www.sallyember.com



    This joint post was made possible by the invitation of Sally Ember, who has been gracious enough to allow us to speak on her blog. She has done this knowing that Mr. Rossis and Mr. Yallowitz have a history of crazy antics. Indeed, some of these antics occurred on Sally’s very own LIVE video show *CHANGES* conversations between authors, which you can find online. Thank you to Sally Ember and we hope everyone enjoys this post on writing a series.

    Check out Nicholas’s newest release, Pearseus: Vigil, by clicking on the above cover art and
    prepare for a March/April debut of Charles’s next book, Legends of Windemere: Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue.

    Charles: First, I would like to say that I’m happy to be working with Nicholas again and on a post this time. Our back and forth on our blogs is a lot of fun and he has a very sharp, creative mind that keeps me on my toes. This carries over into his writing, which impressively spans several genres.

    Nicholas: Same goes for me. I’m very impressed by Charles, both as an author and as a person. Plus, it’s great to have someone who gets my weird sense of humor!

    What is the hardest part about promoting a series?
    Charles: It’s really easy at the beginning because you can play around with teasers and you only have one book out. Then you get the second and try to find ways to promote without revealing everything in the first book. Around the third book, if you go higher than a trilogy, you get caught between avoiding big revelations in the earlier books and spoilers for the next one. It’s a really hectic balancing act because you don’t want to say too much. Yet, you have to say enough to keep people interested and lead to them to the rest of the series.

    I’ve found that you have to make sacrifices in this, for example, revealing a minor spoiler to promote the next book while keeping the big stuff secret. A teaser helps, too, because it isn’t so much a spoiler, but a hint that something is going to happen or a foreshadowed event is coming to pass. Oddly enough, I found that Twitter is the less nerve-wracking social media site to promote a series on because the 140-character limit means you can’t say much and it’s hard to tiptoe around spoilers like that; you have to stick to catchy blurbs or small quotes from the book.

    CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

    Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

    Nicholas: I agree with Charles that Twitter is a great promotional medium for a series, as my marketing relies on a short quote and a link.

    One of the best things about having a series is that you can have a different book on sale each month and it will help the others’ sales as well. However, unlike Charles, I have also made a book bundle available. This contains all the books published so far in Pearseus. Obviously, when this is on sale, no one buys the rest of the books. However, it does attract a lot of attention as it offers great value for money. So, it’s all a bit of a balancing act.

    How difficult is it to maintain continuity in a series and what tricks do you use to accomplish this?
    Charles: I once switched one of my main character’s eye colors and a minor recurring character lost his hair. So some of the details can be messed up if one isn’t careful. Perhaps the biggest challenge to story continuity is that you can forget some foreshadowing or you do something that alters a previously established rule. Middle books can also have events that change the finale because what you plan in your head might not always be what comes out on paper. It really is a game of memory and concentration or like putting together a 5,000-piece puzzle with no picture to guide you.

    There are two tricks that I use. One is that I keep notes on a lot of things that I believe I will forget. For example, I had some minor characters who step into the spotlight in a later book and I never gave them much description in their first appearances. There was just enough that they stood out and I had to make sure I had those identifiers written down. The other trick is never to be afraid to look back at your earlier books to confirm information. If you have even an inkling that you’re off on a fact, then jump back to the book where you know the information has already been written. This helps with plot lines, character descriptions, world-building and anything else that carries over from book to book.

    Nicholas: LOL—I love the idea of “a 5,000-piece puzzle with no picture to guide you.” Indeed, it can feel that way at times.

    I have a .doc file that includes all sorts of minor details, from names to subplots. Also, when I write, I always have my older books open as well. That way, I’m instantly able to jump back and forth and check things out. For example, a lot of the action takes place in a place called the “Chamber of Justice.” Every now and again, I’ll catch myself typing “Chambers of Justice” (plural) instead, so I have to remember it’s actually singular. I have no idea why some days it feels self-evident it’s singular and others that it’s plural, but that’s just how it is.

    Pearseus Bundle on Amazon

    Pearseus Bundle on Amazon

    Do you have any suggestions for readers who wish to get into reading a long series?
    Charles: I’m a fan of starting from the beginning, but I know many who start at the most recent book. If you do this, then I highly suggest that you read the earlier books at some point for more context and to see events that don’t get mentioned again. Also, one must be patient with a series because the story is stretched out and every book will have an opening. Also, not everything gets cleared up at the end of the earlier books. That understanding helps a reader accept that questions will remain. The only other tip I have is that you have to trust that the author knows what he or she is doing. I see a lot of readers try to demand that certain events happen in a story, but those desires might not fall in line with what the author has planned.

    Nicholas: This is a typical “patience is a virtue” situation. Writing a series is a serious responsibility. Reading a series is an investment of both time and money, so we have to make sure that each and every book not only meets the readers’ expectations, but exceeds them. We owe them as much. That is why I’m grateful to all my readers, but those who have invested in Pearseus hold a special place in my heart.

    There are several things we can do to make it easier on the reader, of course. For example, all my Pearseus books have a map with the cities and places that have been revealed so far, plus any new ones. Also, I have a character list at the beginning (and in “X-ray,” if reading on a Kindle), with a two-sentence description of who that person is. Another good idea is to offer a quick reminder each time a minor character first appears. For example, you can say something along the lines of:

    “Parad walked into the room. He spotted Angel, his daughter, and smiled.”
    This helps people who may have forgotten who Angel is.

    Yet another trick I use is to give names to as few people as possible. For example, a minor character may be safely referred to by their property or occupation. Readers don’t need to know the name of every healer that tends a hero’s wounds or every blacksmith that sharpens his weapons.

    Finally, the best thing to do is to make sure each book can stand on its own. That means no cliffhangers and no obscure references—at least not without a reminder.

    Sadly, this is not always possible. Mad Water, the third book in the series, ends on a cliffhanger because the subplots raised there are not resolved for another 400 pages. So I could either have an 800-page-long book or two 400-page ones, the first of which ends on a cliffhanger.

    Obviously, I chose the latter, which brings me back to readers’ patience. 🙂

    CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

    Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

    Charles Yallowitz‘s Information

    Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/cyallowitz
    Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Charles-E-Yallowitz/e/B00AX1MSQA/
    Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com
    Jason Pedersen, Legends of Windemere‘s Cover Artist: http://www.jasonpedersen.com/

    Nicholas Rossis‘ Information

    Nicholas Rossis
    Blog:http://nicholasrossis.me/ .
    Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-C.-Rossis/e/B00FXXIBZA/
    Goodreads: Pearseus: Schism can be read for free on Goodreads.
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis
    Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NicholasRossis
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/NicholasCRossis

    Sally Ember, Ed.D., is the author of the sci-fi/romance/utopian ebooks in The Spanners Series. Volume I, This Changes Everything, is permafree. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is usually $3.99. Look for Volumes III and IV in 2015.
    All reviews, info, excerpts, links: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

    Diverse Books Contest

    MG LGBTQIA2S authors, take note! Submission opportunity, here!

    Writing and Illustrating

    diversecroppedIf you write MG and have a diverse background, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, you may be interested in submitting a short story to We Need Diverse Books. They are putting together an anthology of children’s literature to be published in January 2107.

    Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, has acquired publication rights to this Middle Grade WNDB Anthology, working title “Stories For All Of Us.”

    The anthology will be in memory of Walter Dean Myers and it will be inspired by his quote: “Once I began to read, I began to exist.” Every new story contribution to this anthology will be by a diverse author.

    WNDB is proud to announce that the anthology will have one story reserved for a previously unpublished diverse author. WNDB will fill that slot via…

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