Commemorating an Extraordinary Teacher and Person: Bill Heyde, who passed on 10/26/16

Celebrating an Extraordinary Teacher and Person:
Bill Heyde, R.I.P., 10/26/16, reported by the Ladue Education Foundation in St. Louis, MO, USA

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Mr. Heyde, circa 1973, courtesy of the Ladue Horton Watkins High School yearbooks, as published for his obituary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Dear Friends of Mr. Heyde,

I am saddened to share with you the news that our wonderful Mr. Heyde passed away on Wednesday. His health had recently been improving, and he was scheduled to return to his assisted living facility, but his life came to a close on October 26, 2016. As you all know, he had a life-changing impact on many of his students’, colleagues’, and friends’ lives.

Visitation will be on Sunday, October 30, from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road in Kirkwood, MO.

The funeral service will be Monday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m. at Bopp Chapel.

Burial will be immediately following the service in Cape Girardeau.

Condolences may be sent to Bill’s sister: Adelaide Parsons and her husband Robert, 3120 Independence, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to two of Bill’s favorite organizations:
Missouri Scholars Academy Development Fund
c/o Honors College
210 Lowry Hall
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

and

The Ladue Education Foundation
9703 Conway Road
St. Louis, MO 63124

Here is the link to the obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/stltoday/obituary.aspx?n=william-albert-heyde-bill&pid=182178423&fhid=6378

For those of you who missed it the first time around, here is the link to the clever rap written and performed by 1972 alumnus Steve Levin to honor Mr. Heyde in 2015: https://youtu.be/tA5F3XdNcwI

As a grateful former student of Mr. Heyde’s, I’m so glad I was in St. Louis for the wonderful event honoring him as an amazing teacher and person in April, 2015!

Mr Heyde and students circa 1970
Mr. Bill Heyde and students, Ladue High School, circa 1970?

We had a BLAST!
Bill H and Bill W - Copy
Bill Heyde and Bill Weiss

Doug Cassel and Tom Newmark - Copy
Doug Cassel and Tom Newmark (sorry it’s blurry)

Jim McKelvy - Copy
Jim McKelvy and ??

Mark Zooie and Mr H mock debate - Copy
Mark Zooie (sp?) in mock debate

Randy Rubin mock debate - Copy
Randy Rubin in mock debate

Scott Anderson and Glenn Caplin - Copy
Scott Anderson and Glenn Caplin (former Debate captain)

Tripp Frolichstein mock debate - Copy
Tripp Frolichstein in mock debate

At the actual event, many people contributed to a large scrapbook and to the event’s festivities, including an amazing speech by former Missouri state debate champ, Neal Osherow, and an incredible original poem/rap, written and performed by former debater, Steve Levin https://youtu.be/tA5F3XdNcwI, and a mock debate (pictures, above) with many former debaters. So much fun! So much respect, admiration, love, re-connecting.

Mr. Heyde gave a prepared speech (but mostly from his memory!!) of the history of the debate team at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis and that was fascinating. There were many former debaters and Speech competitors there (as I was, having won 4th place at the Missouri state level with my acting partner, Karen Raskin, in Duet Acting!), and students of Mr. Heyde’s. Excellent turnout: many had to be turned away due to fire code restrictions!

Thanks, Ladue Education Foundation organizers, for imagining, creating and hosting this excellent festival!

Here is my letter, sent to Mr. Heyde in 2012 and again in 2015 for this event:


Hi, Mr. Heyde,

I just found out how to contact you and wanted to thank you. You may not remember me, since you have had thousands of students, so let me jog your memory: I was then Sally Fleischmann (Jonathan’s next-younger sister) at Ladue High School (we have 2 younger sibs you may also have taught, Wendy [now, Ellen] and Lauri). I took your Advanced Composition class in 1970-71. I was one of the only students to get a “B+” on a first draft, while most received “D”s and “F”s. So, I suppose I can’t give you credit for ALL of my writing skills and abilities, but please, read on.

Another memory jog: One of the essays written for your class (about game-playing imagery in a short story by William James) was published in that year’s LHS creative writing journal. I then went on to torment Ms. Cannon in the Advanced Placement English class my senior year by never getting less than a “B” on any written paper, while acting up in her class a lot (I did win the vote [along with our class President, Andy Eder] for “Class Clown” in our yearbook’s “Senior Superlatives,” after all…).

Although I had been published, starting as a 4th-grader, in school and camp newsletters, for short stories, articles, poetry and songs, and again as a freshman, in Missouri Youth Writes, for a poem, prior to having your class, I felt that this essay’s being published was my first “adult” placement. As an actual adult, I have had short stories, poetry, articles, nonfiction books, songs and plays published and produced by others, and served as an editor/rewriter/proofreader for many publications.

In 2013, I became a blogger (Sally Ember, Ed.D., http://www.sallyember.com), and a self-published science-fiction author with Volume I, This Changes Everything, of The Spanners Series</strong>; in 2014, I added Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, and I hope to add Volume III, This Is/is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in 2015 and seven more after that! In 2014, I began hosting my own talk show, conversations between authors, CHANGES, and I often think of you while talking to others about their writing. I also write reviews for Goodreads and Amazon, and while critiquing others’ books, your phrases about what constitutes “good” or “bad” writing often come to mind.

I credit you and want to thank you for modeling for me (and many others, I’m sure) how to teach and inspiring me to teach composition and writing to adolescents and young adults. I went on, after teaching elementary school and middle school language arts, to teach writing: for five summers at Upward Bound; for several years at three community colleges; for five years at two different universities; and, for six years in community education locales, including Corrections Education, in several states. While acquiring my Master’s and doctorate at UMASS/Amherst, I taught writing in Peter Elbow’s peer review process’ domain. I also have had occasional contract work as a researcher/ writer/ editor/ proofreader. I know that your recognition of my writing as “good” (a characterization you did not give out to many pieces) set me on this path.

I think of you often, as a great teacher and someone who inspired me to write more and to teach writing. Even 43 years later, I can picture you perfectly, gesticulating strongly, your necktie blowing about as you passionately enjoined us to become literary critics, not just essay-writers. “Literary criticism” was a foreign concept to me as a junior in high school, until your class. I had learned about symbolism, metaphor and allusion, even how to cite quotations. But, putting it all together analytically, originally, and interestingly? Never even crossed my mind, until you gave us your assignments.

You opened me to a whole new intellectual world. I remember with intense clarity the exact moment when I first “got” what you were trying to convey, and understood (in a very basic way, but still, understood) how to construct a critique. I was astonished. It was as if you had been decrypting a code, helping us to begin using a secret language within English. I really was thrilled to be part of this new “club.”

Yes, I am a geek. I usually read over 250 books a year. Yes; I do. I have, since elementary school, been an avid reader. I was also an athlete: a runner, a cheerleader in 9th grade, a gymnast and field hockey player; also, I am a musician and singer/actor; and, in high school, I was “popular,” including having been elected/selected to that pinnacle for girls in that era, a cheerleader. This is to say to your students that these “identities” are not mutually exclusive: being inducted into the National Honor Society and having lots of friends happily co-exist in many, and I heartily encourage your students to cultivate both their brains and their hearts.You will help them, I’m sure.

I mainly wanted you to know what a great influence and help you were in my professional life, and what warm memories I have of your class. Never think your import was forgotten or unsung, even if we don’t find you to tell you: THANK YOU!

Best to you and your students, past, current and future. Write on!

Take care,

Sally (Fleischmann) Ember, Ed.D.


Do you have a teacher, coach or other mentor you’d like to thank? Start by commenting here and keep on sharing! #thankateacher

Mr Heyde and one student
Mr. Bill Heyde and student, Ladue High School, circa 1970?

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Another tale of terrible customer service from #YouTube: Why do we allow it?

Some of you may know that #YouTube “flagged” and “removed” CHANGES conversations between authors‘s 51st Episode’s title and description for what would have been my upcoming Hangout On Air (HOA) live video three weeks ago and

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By the way:

Watch conversations with my previous *CHANGES* guests any time: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq
Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest: https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

But, wait: it gets worse! YouTube then suspended my livestreaming privileges, funneling me into what could have been a three-month-long “appeal” period, FOR NO REASON. YouTube’s ridiculous ‘bots claimed I violated their Terms of Service with a Copyright Violation (completely false).

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That was called my “first strike.” Apparently, if a creator gets three of these, YouTube’s insane ‘bots summarily shut down the creator’s account, permanently.

I finally heard back from YouTube, after complaining on Twitter and elsewhere for three days straight and seeking advice on YouTube and HOA fora for 3 weeks. I received a notice that I am no longer “suspended,” but (see below) it displays horrible customer service.

I am flummoxed and need advice. Please weigh in!

I was advised before publishing this post to “let it go” because “YouTube has over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute” and can’t possible vet it all with humans. And, to let it go because “nothing I say will change anything.”

Wow! YouTube/Google has BILLIONS of dollars and can’t hire enough staff to run their sites properly? Boo hoo. Hire more people, Google! You can afford it. Better than alienating your customers, if you care (obviously, they do not!).

Both hinted at possible retaliation if I made any noise.

Screw that. I’m a make-noise kind of person.

So, my major complaints are these:

1) This YouTube “team member” who wrote this mostly form-letter email offered:
—no apology
—no explanation of what the “violation” was presumed to have been consisting of
—no way to tell why my set-up actually got flagged
—no information on how to prevent getting flagged in the future, and
—no statement of YouTube’s clearing my account of “strikes.”

But, I checked, and there are now no strikes!

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2) This entire fiasco was all YouTube’s fault: I never violated any Terms of Service! But, they still inserted their standard, not-so-subtle, victim-blaming paragraph in this email.

Because this was THEIR MISTAKE, why do they not remorsefully announce that they are removing this bogus “first strike” from my creator’s account tally? They DID do this….

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3) But, contrary to the wording of this email, below:
—there WAS NO CONTENT TO BE FLAGGED
—this video never streamed, therefore
—there was nothing to be “taken down,” BUT
—my original title and description exist, but with no video and no way to re-activate it that I can see!

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4) How (and with what) did anyone (human or ‘bot) “review my video”?? For what?

5) And, how do I set it up (again) and have it work, this time?

Apparently, since this happened as I was attempting to complete and save my set-up page, this unstreamed video was flagged for its title and description, during set-up! However, I used almost the exact same wording I have used for the previous 50 Episodes of my talk show, CHANGES conversations between authors, as before. Even if it had streamed, there is no “copyright” violation possible. Each Episode is always just I and one author talking about our own work and general topics. period.

6) How can YouTube be run by crazed ‘bots and idiotic, irresponsible humans who apparently have a policy to “shoot first, ask questions never”? Why do they have a policy and process that presumes guilt and offers no timely recourse or explanation when they are wrong.

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Why do we users/creators put up with this?

7) And, given all the problems HOA hosts/users have been having with the new (since 9/12/16) YouTube-only-HOAs as detailed in a Google+ tech group I subscribe to, I’m reluctant even to try to set up this or any Episode any time soon.

You decide if I’m overreacting and how best I should respond. Send your comments to this website http://www.sallyember.com/blog on this post or email your suggestions directly to me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com Advice welcomed, because I am steaming mad and likely to do/write things I regret all over social media right now. Thanks!

Here is YouTube’s “you may now get out of jail” email, unedited:

Hey Sally,

I’m reaching out on behalf of the YouTube Creator Support team to connect regarding your live streaming issue.

It looks as though live streaming was disabled due to some of your content being flagged and taken down. We count on our community members to know our Community Guidelines and to flag content they believe violates them. We review all flagged content quickly, and if we find that a video does violate the guidelines, we remove it. Occasionally, a video flagged by users or identified by our team is mistakenly taken down. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, including restoring videos or channels that had been removed. In this case, we were able to review your video and get it reinstated, as well as reinstated your live streaming capabilities!

Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention and should you ever have any additional questions or issues, please feel free to reach out the Creator Support team here.

Take care,
TEAM MEMBER’s name withheld
Partner Operations Manager
creator-support@youtube.com

Tell me What Types of Posts you Want More of for 2016! Update, Stats and more about Posts from 2015 for the site: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Tell me What Types of Posts you Want More of for 2016! Update, Stats and more about Posts from 2015 for the site: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Welcome to all my new readers, followers, and returning ones to this year-end review. I am grateful for all of your attention, especially when you reblog, comment, ask questions or poke at my opinions.

I also started inviting my CHANGES guests and a few others to be Guest Bloggers on my site and their posts were very popular! Check them out here: Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame.

Other news this year: I was invited to be “interviewed” or featured and/or was a guest blogger on over two dozen more sites, including one that paid me for my submissions, and a few online radio shows!
Please check my links (on http://www.sallyember.com —look right; scroll down) for each of these posts and go visit, comment, enjoy. Highest-traffic sites, so far, are:
The Story Reading Ape“— http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Blog Critics,” for film and TV reviews (and many other types of posts, but those are what I submit)— http://Blogcritics.org and
Buddhist Door,” for which I have submitted a two-part series about my personal journey of becoming a Buddhist as well as one book review (so far)—http://Buddhistdoor.com

Biggest news would be the new release in The Spanners Series and the release of all three of the first Volumes into paperback format as well as ebooks, as of 12/8/15 (see below for details). I ALWAYS post about and link to EVERY review, however, brief or whatever its opinions, as long as it is legitimate (the person actually read my book) and honest.

SO, please do read my books and submit reviews to the usual sites AND send me the URLs, especially if you post it on your own site, so I can drive traffic to your site!

AND, comment here: what do you think of my new business cards (I designed them, so be a bit nice, please)?

2016 Business Cards

Send all inquiries, requests, invitations, submissions and URLs to: sallyember AT yahoo.com

THANK YOU all for being a part of this writer’s blog and other experiences this year!

I hope you continue to visit and offer to guest post. Also, let’s keep re-blogging each other’s posts.

Please do invite me to be an interview guest or be featured and keep exchanging comments!


Quick 2015 Year-in-Review Stats and Info:

  • Sally Ember, Ed.D. blog/site has about 572 total followers:
    506 followers on WordPress and another 67 on Tumblr (which is a reposting site for this one).

    500 follows

  • I posted 300 separate times (not all mine; about 15% are re-blogs) as of 12/28/15.
  • This blog was viewed over 17,000 times with visitors from 139 countries. Most views/visitors: USA (11,200), followed by UK (1,018), then Canada (821), Australia (325), Germany (242), India (235), France (171), Brazil (162), Greece (152), South Africa (139).
  • Most of my “referrers” were Search Engines (6,808), with Facebook a distant “next” (396, but I show over 2350 “friends” and another 1006 following The Spanners Series page), followed by StumbleUpon (192), Google+ (138, despite having over 3000 followers and another 215 following The Spanners Series page), Twitter (134, despite having over 5400 followers), WP Reader (65), Pinterest (62, but showing over 500 followers), my Tumblr reposting site (23, with 67 followers), a few individual webpages, then LinkedIn (at a measly 13, despite having over 700 followers).
    The Story Reading Ape‘s site sent me more visitors than LinkedIn (18)! Thanks, Chris Graham!

  • Nicholas C. Rossis was again my most active commenter: THANKS, Nicholas!
  • Only 47 of the 300 posts garnered any comments at all. But, I passed the 500 LIKES milestone this year!

    500 likes WP-1x

  • Most popular day and time: Sunday, 8 AM (Central USA time)
  • ALEXA ratings, as of 12/29/15, for Sally Ember, Ed.D. are
    2,556,701 out of all websites in the world
    has 102 sites linking in to it (“backlinks”)
    and, is 272,166 out of all websites in the USA

  • Most-viewed day and posts: November 1, 2015, with 247 views:
    “I CONQUERED #CreateSpace! This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series is in Print starting November 13, 2015!” and several others from previous days/months, even 2014, were viewed on this date.

    3 paperbacks

Link to full annual stats report: https://sallyember.com/2015/annual-report/


If you are new-ish to this blog, I am a sci-fi/ romance/ utopian/ multiverse/ paranormal (psi) author who also has a keen interest in many other subjects, most notably: science, social issues/ politics, writing/ publishing/ book marketing/ reviews, and spirituality/meditation. Because of a fall that caused a concussion in April, 2014, I also became engrossed in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI, concussion and its aftermaths, especially as these impact meditation.

In addition to the posts listed, below, I also have Author Interviews (with me as the subject), videos of each of my CHANGES conversations (we’re up to Episode 46, to date), links to my guest blog posts and much more on my website (I’m providing the link here in case you’re reading this elsewhere):
http://www.sallyember.com

This year, after a forced one-year hiatus from fiction writing due to my TBI, I was able to finish Volume III of The Spanners Series, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change! I also put it and Volumes I and II into both ebook AND paperback formats, now on CreateSpace and Amazon, in time for Volume III’s release (12/8/15). (All buy links are on my pages; look right and scroll down.) To accomplish that, I started my own publishing imprint, Timult Books.

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My broad interests are loosely grouped into the categories I’ve tagged and which appear on my page’s “cloud” and are listed, below. If you missed a post, enjoyed a topic but didn’t realize I had more posts in that same area, or want to comment on any of this year’s posts, now’s your chance! Please do comment! I reply to all. And, feel free to share/reblog, curate/use any of my content (giving me credit, please, and excerpting ethically, of course).

I hope your holiday celebrations or whatever activities you have been doing lately have brought you joy. Best to you all!

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TOPICS:

About My Books and Other Science-Fiction

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News, excerpts, links, sales/discount codes, blurbs and more!

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Creativity at Work, Here

Poetry, short stories and other creative writing not related to my Series.

About Science

Re-blogs, summaries, analyses, inquiries, theories. Focus greatly on astro- and quantum physics, astronomy, technology and inventions, medicine. I re-blog on these topics.

About Social Issues and Politics

I am a USA citizen (born and always lived here). I identify as a feminist socialist who votes in EVERY election. I usually register as a Democrat and also vote Green or Independent. I disagree with almost every one of USA’s recent foreign affairs and domestic policies and ALL wars since 1945.
We should have had single-payer health care for all since 1960. Damn Richard Nixon and his cronies in the health care “industry.” I use and advocate for an intelligent mix of “alternative” and “modern” medical methods.
I am a pacifist, Buddhist-raised-Jewish meditator. I am bisexual and an LGBTQQI2-S advocate (if you don’t know what those initials mean, you probably won’t want to read my posts on those topics unless you’d like to become better-educated).
I use science to make decisions, and climate change is real. I am an environmentalist, civil and animal rights activist/advocate who is pro-legalization of Cannabis and Marriage Equality. I work against all oppressions and “isms” actively and despise the cosmetics, “weight loss” and “beauty” industries. I use politically correct speech and in my writing and expect others to do so.
I re-blog on these topics.
I do NOT invite contentiousness or going-nowhere types of arguments. Believe whatever you do but don’t try to invalidate my views, especially on my own site. I do invite dialogue, new information and dissent that is respectful, as well as corrections.
Visit here knowing all that and you’ll be fine!

About my show, CHANGES conversations between authors,

an online, LIVE video talk show on YouTube via Google+ HOA (Hangout On Air)
Seeking guests (see below, in Announcements), and up to Episode 46 already, as of November 1, 2015!
I re-blog my guests’ news and about their new releases.

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About Meditation and Spiritual Practice

I am a devoted, practicing Tibetan Vajrayana Nyingma Buddhist since 1996, and a meditator since 1972. I write about my experiences and re-blog others’ and information about these topics regularly, including book reviews (see above, Buddhist Door.com).

About Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and Concussions
I suffered on in April, 2014, and am still recovering. Many posts about this in 2014 and still some in 2015. These get a lot of views, so I guess many are interested in concussions and their aftermaths. I focus a lot on the impact this TBI has had on my ability to speak, write and meditate. I plan to continue. I re-blog on these topics.

About Publishing, Book Marketing, Writing, Writers

I welcome guest posts from Indie and Self-published or “hybrid” authors here. I re-blog a lot of great posts from book marketers, authors and other bloggers/writers.


Announcements:

#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign needs supporters! You can get rewards (from a free ebook for donating $4 or more, to discounts on editing, proofreading and/or writing tutoring services from Sally for larger donations) and support her writing, talk show and creativity by donating on Patreon.com/sallyember.

Seeking authors to be new guests for CHANGES as I resume shows after January 13, 2016. Please visit my page, here, and find out what your steps are for coming on and follow them! https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

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Seeking Guest Bloggers: Wednesdays are my invitation days. If you’d like to guest blog, please visit this page and let me know! Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame.

Seeking collaborators to engage in what I am calling Crowdcreating for both Volumes VIII (young writers and those who write for YA/NA audiences) and IX (adult and senior writers) of The Spanners Series: co-write, contribute ideas, collaborate on sections or entire chapters with me!
Deadline is January 31, 2017.
Details are in the back of each Volume (another good reason to buy and read my books!).

*CHANGES* Host’s Birthday Week’s Special Episode: Wed., 8/19, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA

CHANGES conversations between authors Host’s Birthday Week’s Special Episode:

Wed., 8/19, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA!
Please share!

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Spanners Series and blog fans/followers, sci-fi/romance readers, fellow authors and viewers, please participate on the Google+ Event page for Episode 38. You may request a chapter or Volume for me, Sally Ember, Ed.D., to read aloud from (yes; I do voices). And, you may list your burning questions (PG-13, please) there.

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Vol III, The Spanners Series, release date: 12/8/15, $3.99

Pre-orders @$1.99, 11/1/15 – 12/7/15

Watch live if you can, but put your read-aloud requests and Qs on the G+ Event page, please! https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cva08aii0mqetgdvi0i3c9m6klg

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Volume II, $3.99

OR, watch and comment live on Youtube: https://goo.gl/qJLUQI

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Volume I, PERMAFREE

Even if we run out of time, I promise to answer all questions on my blog.: http://www.sallyember.com/blog
All purchase/ebook links, reviews, interviews and excerpts also there. Look right; scroll down.

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OPENINGS for CHANGES in September and beyond! I welcome new/seasoned authors of any age, genre, publication method! 

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

Learn more about and get yourself on or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest for CHANGES:   https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/ 

I hope to see you at the show!

Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: *CHANGES* conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube

“Why I Started a LIVE Talk Show: CHANGES conversations between authors on Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and YouTube”
originally posted on http://www.asidefromwriting.com on July 6, 2015

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In early April, 2014, I had just completed and uploaded Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, of my science-fiction/romance/ multiverse/ utopian/ paranormal (psi) ebooks in The Spanners Series for adults, New and Young Adults, and joined two new writers’ groups in the East Bay (one in Berkeley and one in Hayward, California, where I had been living), when I was in a terrible accident. The resulting broken nose has been healing fine and didn’t require surgery; the concussion has proven to be a lot more problematic.

For several months, it was as if I were in a fog. I wasn’t allowed to do any serious computer work, reading or thinking (I had been about halfway through Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, when I got hurt). Since I couldn’t wear my glasses without causing myself enormous pain (glasses would be sitting on the broken nose, right?), and I was overwhelmingly aphasic, exhausted, confused and injured, unable to process much, the respite from writing, reading and working seemed necessary. The accident had also caused extreme damage to my arms, hands, shoulders and upper back, so keyboarding wasn’t all that feasible, anyway. Plus, when I did type, I made more errors than words, typed very slowly (usually over 100 WPM; then, about 40 WPM, with numerous mistakes).

However, once the enforced hiatus was over, I still couldn’t return to my regular life. My memory was horrible, both short- and long-term. I couldn’t find words, or the right words, to speak or write. I no longer sounded as if I were drunk, but I was still extremely slower and less able, all around, than I had been prior to the brain injury. I usually function in the top 10 percent of intellectuals, with an extremely large vocabulary and many types of intelligence. I had been fortunate, up until the accident, to be a wide reader of many subjects, with both formal and informal education beyond the doctoral level and a larger variety of knowledge, experiences and insights than most people. Post-concussion, I was barely above-average and often, not even that.

Before the injury to my brain, I had been writing my fiction series quite quickly, often exceeding 2,000 words per day. My creativity seemed boundless, my energy matching it. Volume I’s first draft had been completed in under two months, and it was over 130,000 words. I had developed a spreadsheet to record my (very brief) notes on my series’ dozens of human, animal and alien characters, multiple timelines, overlapping realities, historical and future events and people, but most of the series’ details and plans had been in my brain which had been injured to the point of being severely compromised.

In July of last year, I discovered all I could create were short, nonfiction blog and other posts, and it took “forever” to finalize each one, since I typed sentences that were riddled with errors. Each post needed to be proofread multiple times. I could barely read others’ blogs and reblog/share, almost couldn’t read short pieces/stories.

Yes, after a few months I was improving and could do these with increasingly better understanding, but I still couldn’t return to my fiction series. My “executive functions” and “working memory” were still extremely low-performing due to the post-concussion syndrome I had been diagnosed with in June.

I wasn’t well enough to return to my “regular” life of work or writing, but I was well enough to be bored. Luckily, I had discovered Google+ the previous year. During the winter and spring of 2014, I had been attending Hangouts On Air (HOAs) somewhat regularly.

After my accident, watching videos was about the only thing I could do, since reading, writing and other glass-wearing activities were excluded. I attended and participated (when that was allowed) in many HOAs by leaving comments, questions, and interactions with others also viewing or presenting, on topics ranging from books, book marketing, authors, writing, marketing, social media, spirituality/meditation and more. I watched most on Google+, but they were also archived so I could watch those I missed on YouTube, where I found even more entertaining, informative videos. (Find me on Google+ as Sally Sue Ember)

I got into watching one HOA in particular, Lights, Camera, HOA!, run by an excellent trio of women: Meloney Hall, Rayne Dowell and Sheila Strover.

After I attended a few shows, Rayne read Volume I of my series and reached out to invite me onto the show to learn more about being in/on a HOA. The entire reason for this show’s existence is to help newbies (like me) get comfortable with the HOA format and technology, both on- and off-camera. I LOVED it! What a great service this show provides. THANK YOU! https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Bigupticksociallightscamerahoa/about

As a former actor/performer, being “on camera” wasn’t hard for me. As a writer/author, being able to interact with viewers LIVE was so much better than having readers I almost never hear from or meet. I was hooked on HOAs and wanted my own. I learned everything I could in the next several months, wondering if I’d be able to manage my own show.

What could I have a HOA about, exactly? There were an infinite number of choices. By then, I had been interviewed on several radio shows online and submitted many “author interview” posts to others’ websites, so I was familiar with that format and was beginning to feel it was somewhat overused. Frankly, and no offense to the current website(!), I find most author interviews to be awfully repetitive and, well, boring.

I did NOT want to interview authors, but I wanted to meet more authors and talk about writing as well as many other interesting topics. By the end of July, four months post-injury, I still couldn’t write for my series, but I was able to talk better and listen very well. I decided to launch in August and to have a show that I would want to watch.

Since I wanted to be around other writers and hear about their experiences, hoping to be entertained and inspired until my own writing would (hopefully) be accessible to me again, I posted on Twitter, Facebook groups and in general, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ communities to invite authors to be guests on CHANGES conversations between authors. I also ranged around to those sites that posted award winners in science-fiction, particularly, and invited many of those authors on my show as well.

CHANGES YouTube Image_3 best

The response has been more than gratifying. I welcomed Dr. Shay West as my first guest for my August 6, 2014, premier Episode, with several more super authors scheduled to be on subsequent shows. Since then, with a few planned and even fewer unplanned exceptions, I have had an Episode each week. The live show airs three or four times per month (with one week off, to rest) on Wednesdays, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA, and TODAY, August 5, 2015, I air my one-year anniversary show!

Amazing authors have been guests on CHANGES (http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on my website for full schedule of past and upcoming guests). I have had guests who joined me live and/or hail from France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Israel, Guyana, and many states in the USA. The authors I have talked with enrich me weekly (and my viewers as well, I hope), writing in every fiction genre and including those who also write nonfiction, plays, screenplays and poetry.

Ethnically, my guests have been American mixed-Causasian, African-American, African-Jamaican, Spanish, English, Indian (continent, not tribe), Russian, Jewish, German, Norwegian, Israeli, Guyanan, Irish, and Greek (so far). Editors, publishers (magazine and book), and translators, with an age range, as of today, August 5, 2015, of 15 – 78 years old, are in my CHANGES guests club.

Our conversational topics list is too lengthy to include here, but has been exactly as I had planned: wide variety, high-level subject discussions that are informative, entertaining, insightful, funny and poignant. My guests and I share personal and professional stories, discuss books and writing, publishing and editing, book cover artists and much more.

I am quite happy to say that, as of August 5, 2015, CHANGES Episodes (now up to 37, http://goo.gl/1dbkZV on YouTube) have garnered audiences as large as over 1000 in one day, totalling over 3600 views, so far.

My YouTube channel went from having 2 to almost 50 subscribers. I now have over 3000 followers on Google+ and Facebook, each (although some are the same people, I’m sure), and over 5000 on Twitter. Pinterest followers’ number has quadrupled; so has LinkedIn’s.

I know these are small numbers compared to many, but I’m happy that my network is growing. We receive many compliments, positive comments and excellent questions for each CHANGES Episode from viewers who watch live or later, and more watch weekly.

Since starting CHANGES, I’m delighted to report that downloads of Volume I of my series, which is permafree since I uploaded Volume II (right before my accident), are steady. I do wish for better sales for Volume II, but I’ve heard a series has to have at least three books released “to really take off.”

What’s Next?
CROWDFUNDING to meet my Goals

—I wish to convert the *CHANGES* videocasts into podcasts, for those who prefer to listen-only, but the podcast hosting sites are not free.
—I also wish to pay for my next book covers,
—I need to buy better equipment for my home videocasts, and
—I must keep writing.

However, the concussion has severely limited my ability to work and I am in deep debt. If you’d like to help, http://www.patreon.com/sallyember has a video about my goals and rewards to donors in which I sing (really; not so well, but, hey; I’m not a professional singer!), and more information.

$4 gets you a free ebook; larger donations earn you deep discounts on professional editing, proofreading and writing tutor services, all of which can do well, despite the concussion.

Concussion Recovery News
As of May, 2015, I am back to writing new parts of Volumes III and IV! Slowly, much more laboriously, with an ongoing need for referrals to notes and dictionary, thesaurus and spell-check than remembering going on, but glad to be writing!

I wish I could open up my brain and retrieve the Spanners Series ideas that had been so accessible, so easily before the concussion and look them all over, but…

logoAuthorsDen

The network of authors, book bloggers, book marketers and other writers I have been developing over the last two years has blossomed into a group I can call upon for help, advice, and exchanges. That has proved amazingly gratifying as I trumpet my announcement, below, because many have stepped forward to play a role in this next phase.

Good news: I finished the Beta readers’ draft of Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in late July! Five wonderful writers are reading it right now and will offer their sage wisdom on its improvements by late September. I then hope to be finished with the final proofed version no later than mid-October. I have already begun the cover design process with Aidana Willowraven, The Spanners Series‘ cover artist. The Cover Reveal is planned to occur on Alesha Escobar‘s site in late October. Pre-orders start 11/1/15 and the release of Volume III is scheduled for December 8, 2015!

Wish me luck!

How Else You Can Become Involved
Beta readers for upcoming draft of Volumes IV and reviewers of all Volumes welcomed! Contact me: sallyember@yahoo.com

Also, watch a few Episodes of CHANGES any time: http://goo.gl/6xjSKl Please comment on YouTube or go to the original G+ Event page for that Episode and comment/ask questions, get more info and links. I will respond!

Become/Refer a Guest! #Authors and #bloggers, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction, but not only those: learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and #Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest.

OPENINGS 8/12/15 and later this fall! For more info, schedule and past/upcoming guests list, visit here: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV.

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Also, I’ve invited former guests and others I appreciate to Guest Blog on Wednesdays, with excellent posts, so far! Check out the Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame on my site (see below) for previous and upcoming posts.

I strongly suggest you check out others’ HOAs as well: there are some great shows out there in Google+ land! Two good places to find them (and another great G+ community, User2User: LIVE!):
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101944073205735325459 for User2User-Live!
Http://www.hangouteventscalendar.com for the HOA Calendar

For updates about and links to available Volumes of The Spanners Series, me as an author, my own and guest blogger’s posts, Patreon and much more: http://www.sallyember.com has all links and info. Look up or to the right and scroll.


May all who are ill recover and all who are in pain find comfort.

Best to you all!

“#Censorship, #Violence, #Buying Ratings, and #Compassion”: Fran Connor’s Guest Blog Post

I am so pleased to welcome Fran Connor as my guest blogger today. Fran is a scriptwriter/screenwriter, novelist and blogger living in France but hailing from the UK who was my guest on CHANGES conversations between authors for Episode 25.

Fran has several well-considered opinions, which he calls “rants,” that he’s decided to share with us all today. Comment here and send comments directly to his email , as requested.

For more information about how to reach Fran and know more about his writing, or to become a guest 0on CHANGES or become a guest blogger on my site, see below his post.

Thanks for visiting!


“#Censorship, #Violence, #Buying Ratings, and #Compassion”
Fran Connor’s Guest Blog Post

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#Censorship

That’s a title that immediately puts writers on one side of the line or the other, with a few sitting on the fence getting a corrugated derriere.

But we all participate in censorship when we write, don’t we? And if we don’t, should we?

I’m working on a project at present that involves people in the seventeenth century. Rich people. The ones who lived in huge mansions bought with the proceeds of the slave trade.

And I got to thinking about the protagonist. A man of his time. Good to his family. A God-fearing churchgoer. He helps the poor villagers in his English village by providing meat from the deer on his estate during the winter. He provides schooling for the village children so they can learn to read, write and better their chances in the future. He treats his wife as almost equal. ‘Almost’? Yes, almost, because he is a man of his time. And, of course, he’s kind to his dog.

He makes his fortune by shipping slaves across the Atlantic. He’s following his Christian faith; the Bible allows him to deal in slaves.

STOP! You can’t have that. Oh no, no no. How can you have a sympathetic Christian main character who makes his living from slavery? It simply would not be tolerated by many readers of today’s novels usually attracted to this genre. Not unless he “sees the light” on the way to Damascus, and my guy doesn’t see the light. Such characters existed. Perhaps historians could get away with it in an academic tome, but not a novelist aiming at an Historical Romance clientele.

Or, could I get away with it? It may stir up some complaints, and as we know, even bad publicity can be good for sales.

So I will have to make him earn his fortune elsewhere in order not to alienate my readers. I need to censor my writing.

What if I were not to censor my writing and went ahead glorifying a man who chained people in the depths of a sailing ship in horrendous conditions for months? I would probably have rotten tomatoes or worse thrown at me at the book signing!

Sadly, there would be people out there who would love such a character. It would strengthen their racist and bigoted opinions. I wouldn’t want that, so I should censor the piece.

It isn’t a case of being politically correct. It’s a case of trying not to deliberately upset people. I think most of us would do the same: self-censor. Apart from anything else, it would be literary suicide to annoy your readers.

What do you think?

Tell me at: francis@connorscripts.com


#Violence

Then we have the horrific depiction of violence against women in many novels, films and on TV. Why? What’s the point?

The point is that it sells. Sex sells. It always has and always will. And for most of us, there is nothing wrong or evil about sex between consenting adults, either heterosexual or same-sex. But, sex mixed with violence is a heady concoction and unleashes the demons inside some readers and viewers.

There are those who would argue that it does no such thing. After thirty-three years in a UK police force, I would argue to the contrary. But I’m not an intellectual, as I have already said, so I suppose one of those would dispute my claim.

Why are we fixated on murder and violence? Have we not come far from the days of Imperial Rome, where a good afternoon’s entertainment was to see men fight to the death or lions eat unfortunate victims? I think the answer to that is: “No, we haven’t.”

I self-censor my sex scenes to ensure that I do not depict women as victims. Many other writers do the same. Some do not.

Most people will be fortunate not to be murdered or not know anyone who has been murdered. It is, thankfully, still a rare crime in most civilized countries. If someone close to you has been murdered or you have been sexually assaulted, how do you feel about the subject being the source of entertainment?

Should the depiction of women as victims or murder as entertainment be censored by the authorities if writers won’t self-censor?

I don’t know the answer to that. Do you?

Please send your views to: francis@connorscripts.com


#Buying ratings

We all want to see our work hit the number one best-seller target on Amazon, but how far are we willing to go in order to achieve that goal?

Like most authors, I use the various tactics available for increasing my exposure and soliciting reviews. Recently, however, I came across a site that “guaranteed sales of at least one thousand books” if they were priced at $0.99. The cost of this service was $1400.

One thousand sales in a short period will push your ratings quite high. Now I’ve been in this game for a few years, I’m no expert, but I’m no fool either. I can’t think of any way that one can guarantee that one thousand people will buy your book at $0.99. There must be an angle, a catch, something fishy going on. I can’t claim to know what it is, but I would suggest that it could be the use of clever software or simply one person buying one thousand Kindle copies. Would that strike an alarm in Amazon? Again, I don’t know, but I expect that it would.

The supplier of this service spends out $990 but gets paid $1400. Not a bad return.

My point isn’t getting at the supplier. Someone sees a niche in the market and fills it. That’s enterprise. My point is: why would we consider purchasing the service? Because it may lead to more genuine sales and perhaps or possibly or maybe lead to recovering your $1400 outlay?

I suggest that you are unlikely to get any reviews, good or bad, from the alleged purchasers of your $0.99 book. So, is it ethical to use this service? Do ethics have any place in today’s cut-throat publishing scramble?

If you have any views on this, please send them to: francis@connorscripts.com


One more rant! #Compassion

I saw in late May that the state of Texas decided to execute a man who was in his late sixties after he had served thirty-one years in prison awaiting execution and going through all the legal appeals. His last one obviously had failed. He had been convicted of four murders and may well have been guilty, although that is not always a given.

One often hears politicians and others saying “God Bless America.” On the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities, I heard President Obama say “May God continue to bless America.”

Makes me wonder why God would bless a country that lacks compassion.

This is just the view of a Brit. You can argue with me at: francis@connorscripts.com


The comments above are those of author and screenwriter, Fran Connor, and not necessarily the views of the host of this blog, Sally Ember, Ed.D.


Fran Connor is the author of:

The Devil’s Bridge

devil's bridge final fron
http://www.amazon.com/Devils-Bridge-Fran-Connor-ebook/dp/B00N02YN6C/

Someone to Watch Over Me

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http://www.amazon.com/Someone-Watch-Over-Fran-Connor-ebook/dp/B00XV2MW2I/

Sophia and the Fisherman

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http://www.amazon.com/Sophia-Fisherman-Fran-Connor-ebook/dp/B00VQVQAME/

Visit Fran: http://www.connorscripts.com


Fran Connor was also my guest on CHANGES conversations between authors, an almost-weekly, Google+/Youtube video chat show, on Episode 25. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time: http://goo.gl/eX0D8T

OPENINGS 7/8 and beyond! #Authors, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction and who blog, learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and
#Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV


If you’d like to be a Guest Blogger, please visit my Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame and learn what’s involved.

Thanks for visiting, commenting, following, and enjoying this site! http://www.sallyember.com

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

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#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/